As the holiday season approaches I hope that you will all get a chance for a break, whether spent at home or abroad -an opportunity to ‘recharge the batteries’ so to speak. For those interested in sports, over the next few weeks there is plenty to occupy our time – not least Wimbledon tennis, and the cricket. (I guess interest in the world cup may have started to dwindle!). In the life of the United Reformed Church, July is an important month, not least because from 3rd till 6th General Assembly will take place at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff.
You may recall that a few years ago the decision was taken to hold General Assembly every 2 years rather than annually in an attempt to reduce overall costs to the Church. Naturally, this has the knock-on effect of having to truncate 2 years business into the one event.
So what is the purpose of General assembly? In essence General Assembly has two functions. Firstly, it provides an opportunity to look back, to celebrate and give thanks for the life of our Church and its membership, recognising the service given by local Churches in the proclamation of the Gospel. Secondly it provides a forum to look forward, considering different aspects of Church life and to discern the future direction we as a denomination might take, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Any decisions approved at Assembly are passed back through Mission Council and its various committees for action by Synods and local Churches. .
This year’s theme is entitled ‘Drinking deeply of God’s gifts of Word, Water, Wine, Wheat and Wind’ and lays down three challenges: the nature of Assembly, expressing ecumenism, and exploring evangelism. We look forward to receiving the responses from those deliberations.
One particular issue on the agenda I would like to draw your attention to concerns same-sex marriage ceremonies being conducted in Church. The current position is that whilst as from March this year it has been permissible to conduct such ceremonies in some Churches, before they can go ahead, they must have denominational approval. In the case of the URC, that decision will be taken at General Assembly. I must stress however, that if the decision taken at Assembly approves such ceremonies, ultimately it is still down to the local church to decide whether or not this is something we wish to consider as part of our local Mission.
A special Assembly hymn has been written for this year’s event, and I quote 2 verses taken from that hymn below. You might like to use the words as a basis of prayer as we think of those attending Assembly and carrying the responsibility of making important decisions on our behalf.
All our needs have been provided:
Water, wine, wheat, wind and Word.
Drinking deeply from God’s goodness,
Hope and confidence are stirred.
Living Water, you reclaim us,
Broken Bread, you make us whole,
Winsome Wind, you lead us onward,
God, our Source and Guide and Goal.
Your friend and Minister,
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ALBION FELLOWSHIP FORUM
We had our AGM on 9th June, which was followed by a delightful evening of song by the Hurst Methodist Choral Group. At the AGM we ran through the meetings of the past year and all the speakers had provided us with an evening of pleasure. We realised what the meetings had meant to us. The problem is decline in membership (down to 12 or less) which made it difficult to obtain speakers. Many of the older ladies feel they cannot turn out on the dark evenings, but we could endeavour to ferry them in.
Many of us had thought that we should close, but it seemed sad after all the years and it was decided to have a meeting on Monday 8th September at 8pm to consider our future, having given in the meantime, thoughts of new ways of using this hour. We do not need a speaker at every meeting and there must be a lot of alternatives so that we could have a happy time together. We would welcome members from the branches and it would help us to enjoy each other’s company, perhaps have some meetings at the branches. So, please everybody give thought to this and see if we can create a new fellowship that will help bind us together in the time before our meetings in 2016. All of you do come to the meetings and bring another sense of joy to our fellowship. There will be a reminder in the September Messenger.
Edward Bamforth, Chairman, Albion Forum
MIDWEEK SERVICE AT ALBION
The next mid-week Communion Services are on Wednesday 9th July and Wednesday 13th August at 11am in the Choir Vestry.
There will be an Elders Meeting on 3rd July at 7.30pm. The venue at the time of writing this notice is to be confirmed.
Will take place at Charlestown on Thursday 17th July at 7.30pm.
BIBLE STUDY GROUP
The Bible study group will meet on 1st July at 7.45pm at the manse for the final meeting before the summer break. Our meeting on the 15th July will be our meal at the Kingfisher in Greenfield. All welcome
CHURCH FAMILY WEEKEND
The Church Family weekend will take place from Friday 3rd till Sunday 5th October at Foxhill Conference Centre, Frodsham as usual. I am in the process of gathering the names of those who wish to attend (and collecting the money) – so if you would like to go please let me know. The cost is £135 for adults with discounts as follows:
We were saddened to hear of the death of Alan Kendall who died on 30th May. Alan and his wife Lesley became valued members of Albion shortly after their marriage in 1993 and later served as joint church secretaries. In 1998 they moved to Qatar and latterly have been living in Malta, visiting Albion on several occasions when they were back in the UK. Alan will be greatly missed, and our love and prayers are with Lesley and Alan’s family at this time.
SPECIAL SERVICE – WORLD WAR 1 COMMEMORATION
There is to be a joint service at Albion with our friends from Hurst and Stalybridge Methodist Churches on Sunday 3rd August as part of our commemorations of the First World War. Tea will be served in the memorial Chapel at 5.30pm with worship commencing at 6.30pm.
Funerals conducted by the Revd. Barbara Plenderleith
At Dukinfield Crematorium
Florrie Mary Gavin (new born)
At Dukinfield Crematorium
Mary Waterhouse (94 years)
Conducted by the Revd. Alan Wickens:
At Albion and Hurst Cemetery
Kathleen BROAD (101 years)
At Park Wood Crematorium, Elland
Alan Edward KENDALL (63 years)
At Albion and Dukinfield Crematorium
David Eric BOON (74 years)
At Dukinfield Crematorium
Dorothy KERSHAW (85 years)
“Nothing in life or death, in this world or in the world to come, can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”
To be conducted by the Revd. Alan Wickens:
Zayne Isaac Coulthard, son of Gavin and Kelly Coulthard,
Charlie Michael Canavan, son of Thomas Canavan and Abigail Calverley,
To be conducted by the Revd. Alan Wickens
Jordan John NEWTON and Emma Louise TRACE
Andrew James TURNER and Annette Jane MacARTHY
Anthony Lee ANDERSON and Lianne MASSEY
Stephen Mark SMITH and Kelly Leighanne MITCHELL
Ronald Heath KERSHAW and Adele Anne PIPER
Jamie Lee STREETER and Kelly Sarah SYMCOCK
RENEWAL OF MARRIAGE VOWS
Ian and Lorna LOYNDS