It never ceases to amaze me the wonders of modern technology. Take the use of the internet for example, and how that has opened up channels of communication around the world. Apart from very expensive phone calls, the only other way to communicate with people around the world used to be by letter which would often take days to arrive. But now (assuming you have access to a computer of course) you can send an email to Australia in seconds and have a reply almost by return. Latterly, with the introduction of Skype, you can not only converse with people all over the world, but you can also see them on your computer screen. We certainly have come along way over the past few years, and we might ask ourselves where will it end? Improved communication, of course, is one of the themes that comes out of the season of Pentecost.
In a couple of weeks we will be celebrating the Feast of Pentecost – sometimes referred to as the birthday of the Church. It is celebrated 50 days after Easter, and is also known as Whit Sunday (Whitsun). We read in Acts 2 how the Holy Spirit, dramatically and in the form of a mighty wind and like tongues of fire, settled on the heads of the disciples, who were all together in one place. For those fearful disciples this was to be a major turning point in their lives. Suddenly all their previous fears passed away. As they were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were given the ability to speak in different languages, and given courage and a sense of boldness enabling them to converse with those from other lands each in their own language.
Originally, Pentecost was the Old Testament harvest festival, also referred to as the ‘Festival of Weeks’. In the light of the New Testament, we can see how the ‘harvest’ analogy applies. Firstly, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples affirms that the seed of faith sown under the Law of Moses has found fruition now among Christians who live under the guidance of the Spirit. Secondly, the visible tongues of fire at Pentecost echo the Lord coming down in fire on Mount Sinai to deliver the Ten Commandments. The ‘harvest’ of the 3000 converts on the day of Pentecost recalls the first fruits of the harvest and the agricultural context of the feast. The speaking in different languages marks the reversal of the scattering of languages from the time of Babel. Therefore in the early Church, Pentecost took on a special significance as a festival of fruitful unity. It marked the foretaste and promise of unity among all the nations of the world through the gospel. That is a succinct summary of Pentecost!
But what does it mean for us today in the Church? Well, certainly that same Spirit is alive and moving in our Churches and doing amazing things. Not necessarily as dramatic as on that first Day of Pentecost – but that same Spirit still enables and guides us in all we think and do. The Holy Spirit is the life-blood of the Church, coming upon us like the wind to blow away the cobwebs and help us in our thinking. When Jesus said that the Spirit would come and lead us into truth (John 16 verse 13), he was not just talking about the Spirit sorting out our muddled thinking. He was saying there is real work to be done. The Spirit of God gives us the clarity to see, and the energy to do, what needs to be done, in his name and to the glory of God. The Spirit of God can fill us with joy in the fullness of life which Jesus said he had come to bring.
Flame- dancing Spirit, come,
Sweep us off our feet and
Dance us through our days.
Surprise us with your rhythms,
Dare us to try new steps, explore
New patterns and new partnerships.
Release us from old routines
To swing in abandoned joy
And fearful adventure.
And in the intervals,
In your still centre.¹
¹Watching for the Kingfisher
Your friend and Minister,
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
|3rd June||7.45pm||Bible Study||The Manse|
|4th June||7.30pm||HN Fellowship Meal||See Pat B|
|8th June||GIFT DAY||Albion|
|8th June||After Worship||Picnic in the Park||King George’s Park|
|9th June||7.45pm||Albion Fellowship Forum||Memorial Chapel|
|11th June||11am||Midweek Service||Albion|
|14th June||11am – 1pm||Coffee Morning||Charlestown|
|17th June||7.45pm||Bible Study||The Manse|
|21st June||3pm||Strawberry Cream Tea||Charlestown|
|26th June||2.30pm||Women’s Guild||Charlestown|
|28th June||10am||Hurst Nook Gift Day and Coffee Morning||Hurst Nook|
ALBION FELLOWSHIP FORUM
The next meeting will take place on 9TH June for the AGM and entertainment from the Hurst Choral Group.
MIDWEEK SERVICE AT ALBION
The next mid-week Communion Service is on Wednesday 11th June at 11am in the Choir Vestry.
A reminder to those who are unable to get to Church who may like to receive Holy Communion. If you would like to receive the bread and wine I would be very pleased to bring Communion to you in your home. If you let your Elder know, or give me a call, I will make the necessary arrangements.
BIBLE STUDY GROUP
The Bible study group will meet on 3rd and 17th June at 7.45pm at the manse. All welcome.
Conducted by the Revd. Alan Wickens:
At Hurst Nook and Hurst Cemetery
William Patrick McNALLY (75 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”.
Please support our Strawberry Afternoon Tea at 3pm on Saturday 21st June at Charlestown.
Just to remind everyone that the next issue of the Albion Fellowship Messenger will be a combined Messenger for the months of July and August. This was agreed at a Church Meeting in January.
All notices for July and August must be with me by the deadline on which is Wednesday June 18th 4pm.
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
Margaret and Ron T
Revd. Barbara P
The Mills family (Canada)
Eileen G and family
67th Wedding Anniversary
Birthday memories of a Very Dear Mother
In Grateful Remembrance of the Life and Ministry of the Revd. Norman Riley
In Memory of Olive and Ethel Mills
Wishing my husband Ken a Happy Birthday
Memories of Harry’s sisters Elizabeth, Alice and Lois
Our thanks to the above for their gifts and memories
CHURCH ANNIVERSARY AND GIFT DAY
Our Church Anniversary and Gift Day service this year will be held on Sunday 8th June. It is one of our major fund raising events, and it is the time of the year when as Treasurer, I ask you to give a gift of money to the church. I would kindly ask you to support Gift Day with enthusiasm and make as generous a donation as you are able. I therefore ask you to look honestly at what you can give and consider the Gift Aid scheme if you are a tax payer. Gift Day envelopes will be available on previous Sundays as well as on Gift Day and should be placed on the Offertory plate. Those who Gift Aid are asked to write their name on the envelope. Gift Aid certificates are available for signing if you are to gift aid for the first time. If you are unable to attend church either before or at the Gift Day service please be a part of this special day by asking the Minister or an Elder to deliver a Gift Day envelope to you.
Thank you in anticipation of your generosity.
John B Treasurer
ALBION BROWNIE CELEBRATIONS
Albion Brownies and Leaders spent a wonderful sunny weekend in Shrewsbury celebrating the Brownie Centenary with 885 other units from across the UK. The Brownies took part in a lot of different activities from orienteering to trapeze. Brownies had to search within in order to overcome their fears and also learn to trust others to keep themselves safe. There were a lot of big Brownie smiles during the weekend and many friendships formed. It was great that Albion could be a part of the celebrations. Thank you to all those who have helped us raise funds for this special trip.
ALBION TOTS GROUP
Albion Tots group will meet at Albion Church on Friday 9.30am till 11.00am
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Birthday Memories of Derek
Loving Memories of Father
Loving Memories of a dear Husband, Dad and Granddad
HURST NOOK FELLOWSHIP
The fellowship will go out for a meal on Wednesday 4th June at 7.30pm. For more information see Pat B.
HURST NOOK GIFT DAY AND COFFEE MORNING
This will take place on 28th June. Entry will be 50p which includes a cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit. Light refreshments will be also be available.
Our congratulations go to Barbara and Peter following the birth of their Great Granddaughter Rose Elizabeth.
HURST NOOK TOTS
Every Thursday 10am -11.30am during term time, £1.00 per family.
BIRTHDAY GREETINGS FROM HURST NOOK To:
Rachel A, Jo H, Brian B, Pauline T and Kathleen H.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR:
Flo J, Eva H, Mavis D, Rita Kershaw, Callum, Oliver and anyone who needs our special prayers at this time.
We were saddened to hear of the death of our friend Mary Waterhouse and we think of her family at this time.
Helen Mellor and Family
John and Norma S
Christine and Tom
Mary P and Susan T
Lesley and John
Memories of Loved Ones
Loving Memories of Daughter Janet
For Jessica’s Birthday
In Loving Memory of Eric Husband, Dad and Granddad
Loving Birthday Memories of a Dear Daughter and Sister Margaret
Celebrating Francesca’s Birthday
PICNIC IN THE PARK SUNDAY 8TH JUNE 2014
We invite everyone to come along and join us in King George’s Park after morning worship. Bring your deck chairs, picnic blanket and packed lunch to join in the event for a time of fellowship, fun and games.
The Guild will meet on Thursday 26 June at 2.30pm. The speaker is Debbie from Age UK. All ladies are welcome to join us.
CHRISTIAN AID COFFEE MORNING
Many thanks to all who supported us, a total of £157.70p was raised. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 14th June.
Light lunches will be served on Saturday 14th June 11am – 1pm.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS FROM EXTENSION
This is now nearly completed thanks to Tom and Philip. We are also very grateful to Tom H and Adam R for their help. Another job ticked off the to do list.
Many thanks from all the fellowship at Charlestown.
We think of all those known to us that need our prayers at this time particularly Keith, Cyril and Bett M. As we approach the Summer Term we think of our young friends near and far as they prepare for exams at school, college and university.
ALBION FELLOWSHIP – HISTORY
Quite some time ago whilst searching through archives at Manchester Central Library, I came across a letter written by Hugh Mason MP to Mr Bostock (the chemist who wrote so many of the poems relating to Albion and its people). The letter is obviously referring to some refurbishment at Albion Chapel, built 1835. The letter reads:
Dear Mr. Bostock, How I feel so much the need of making our old sanctuary lightsome and wholesome as our own living rooms that I will make a little sacrifice – and I offer to give one third of the entire sum if all the people put together will do the two thirds. Some may say it is extravagant – some will always say so – never mind them.
Now I tell you, I honestly and sincerely believe that more souls will be saved and better preaching done, and certainly better listening, and altogether more happiness and comfort and prosperity got when we have taken away the gloom and darkness and heaviness of God’s House as the spending of a bit of God’s money that I venture to ask my colleagues the deacons to buckle up and shell out. It will be a very great improvement. We shall use less gas I have no doubt one third less and get twice the light and perfect ventilation. We are now set on doing the best work in decorating, plastering and ventilating that has ever done anywhere. We shall let more pews and have better attendance. And the work will last until you and I get to Heaven if we live until we are a hundred. Believe me. Very Truly, HUGH MASON
24th July 1881 – 33 Euston Square, S.W.
The above I think shows Hugh’s sincere Christian commitment and it is therefore perhaps fitting that we take a look at the Mason Memorial Tablet which is now in Albion Church.
The Mason Memorial Tablet, originally placed in Albion’s Old Chapel following the passing of Hugh Mason in 1886, was dedicated at a special service on the 14th March 1887. The service was led by Mr. Hutchinson’s address, when he giving an account of Hugh Mason’s life in connection with the Albion Church. Mr. Harrison and Mr. Park moved and seconded a vote of thanks to Miss Bertha Mason for unveiling the Tablet and their speeches referred to the useful life Hugh had spent in connection with Albion Church and how all its interests had been dear to him, all its organisations for usefulness had been helped by him, and how its members had been stimulated by his stirring words and his liberal gifts. As Mr. A.E. Reyner could not attend he wrote – “Dear as the memory of Mr. Mason must be to all Ashtonians, to the worshippers at Albion Chapel it must be doubly and trebly dear, for to us Mr. Mason was not only eminent as a citizen, but also by his labour, generosity, unflinching courage, and , above all, by his consistent Christian conduct he greatly helped to build up the influence of our religious circle, so we shall also greatly treasure the memory he has left behind.”
The Memorial Tablet was created by the artist Mr. Swynnerton and he gave a description of the symbolic references he had used whilst creating the Tablet:
“The deceased gentleman was first of all a Christian, and the main idea and the most precious part of the Christian religion I took to be the hope of immortality, through the Lord Jesus Christ. In trying to express this, I went back as far as I could to the early Christians, and copied the symbols which they inscribed on their martyr’s grave. One was the monogram used to represent the name of Christ. This symbol was sometimes only rudely scratched on stone over the graves of the martyrs put to death, as they knew, in the early ages of Christianity. There were also the other Greek letters Alpha and Omega, the “First and the Last” mentioned in the Scriptures. Then I put on the tablet the Latin word Resurgam, ‘I shall rise again’ which also gave hope. That was directly over the tomb. The tomb was a representation of the house of the dead, with its doors, and then there was the angel coming on the resurrection morn and opening the door, as if saying, “Arise, thy light is come!” Then below there was a representation of Mr. Hugh Mason, and the inscription, “In memoriam, Hugh Mason, of Groby Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne, born 30th January 1817, died 2nd February 1886, whose memory is held in love and honour by the members of the Congregation by whom this tablet is erected, Albion chapel, Ashton-under-Lyne 1886.”
HERITAGE WEEK-END – SATURDAY 13TH SEPTEMBER 10am – 4pm
This year Heritage Week-End will take as its main point World War One and the Pilkington War Memorial. Many names on the Memorial have been researched by myself and a friend of mine Rita Vaughan and as the names on the Memorial show all names of those men who fell who were from Charlestown, Hazlehurst, Hurst Nook and Albion I do hope many of you will be interested to come to look at the display as there may be a family connection found.
I would also like to ask for helpers during the day to watch over the artefacts and registers and to count the number of people attending. Hopefully too we can offer refreshments if people are willing to help in that direction. If you are interested in helping could you let me know?
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