As you may know, in July we are to undertake a ‘pastoral review’, which we have requested and is being organised by the Central area of the URC. A small group of 2 or 3 people with their convenor Jed Gartside will facilitate this as we look at ourselves as a pastorate: what we do, our Mission and worship etc. This will enable us to build on our achievements and help us discern where God might be leading us in the future.
Now this might sound daunting – but the Elders and I believe it is a good thing to have ‘fresh eyes’ to help us identify what is good and what needs to changed. I feel there is an inherent danger in all organisations, whether church or secular, that we can run the risk of becoming stale through always doing the same things. In most cases, an injection of new thoughts and new ideas can be like a breath of fresh air.
The last pastorate review was 13 years ago, in 2002 when the following Mission Statement was adopted:
“By God’s help, the Church will seek to proclaim the inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ through word and action within the life of the Church and reaching out into the life of the world. It will be prepared to respond to the ever new challenges the Gospel presents.”
A logical starting point for our review would be to concentrate initially on that statement, and to identify how far we have strived to fulfil that goal. From that, we can move on to identify those areas where we have fallen short and hopefully to build upon those things that have been achieved.
I believe our review has come at an opportune time within the life of the URC. I have previously made reference to the consultation document entitled “What is the Spirit saying to the Church?” which addresses the issue of the future direction of the United Reformed Church over the next 10 years. In addition, Lawrence Moore from the Windermere Centre has produced a reflection concerning the understanding of Mission which could be helpful to us at this time. I have included this elsewhere in this edition of the Messenger. I particularly liked the phrase Lawrence uses when he says that “the Church is intended to be God’s shop window for the Kingdom.” What a good analogy!
So as we begin this process, I hope that you will be able to engage with us in thinking about our Mission for the next few years, and be ready to share your thoughts openly and honestly, enabling an inclusive, meaningful and fruitful conversation. Jed Gartside will be attending the Full Church Meeting at Charlestown on 23rd July. I would encourage you all to make every effort to attend if you can.
Meanwhile, now that the holiday season is upon us, I hope you all get an opportunity for a time of rest and relaxation whether at home or away.
Your friend and Minister,
|DATES FOR YOUR DIARY|
|2nd July||7.30pm||Elders Meeting||Charlestown|
|4th July||TBC||Gift Day
|8th July||11am||Mid-Week Service||Albion|
|11th July||11am-1pm||Gift Weekend Coffee Morning||Charlestown|
|12th July||10.30am||Messy Church||Albion|
|18th July||10-4pm||Big Day Out||Southport|
|21st July||7pm||Bible Study Meal||Kingfisher|
|23rd July||7.30pm||Full Church Meeting||Charlestown|
|11th August||11am||Mid-Week Service||Albion|
|22nd August||TBC||Fund Raiser for Christie Hospital||Albion|
|12th September||Heritage Day||Albion|
Mission: Living the Good News
This is an article written by our Director, Lawrence Moore.
Do you know the origin of the word, “mission”? It comes from the Latin verb “mitto”, meaning “to send”. Hence missionaries are classically people whom the church “sends” to other parts of the world – places where there isn’t yet a Christian church. So mission is typically connected with “church extension”.
But that’s not the origin. The word was first used to refer to the sending of the Son by the Father into the world in order to save it (in other words, as a shorthand for John 3:16-17). Jesus was the first missionary. And here is what lies at the heart of the “rediscovery of mission” during the late 20th century: mission is God’s idea and goal, not the Church’s. Mission happens because God is a missionary God – at work transforming this world into the Kingdom of God. That is what salvation means in its fullest sense. And God’s saving mission is on-going: it started in the life and ministry of Jesus and is continuing as we speak through the Holy Spirit and whatever groups of human beings are prepared to sign up!
Stop and think about that for a moment. God’s priority – God’s mission – is saving the world, not establishing the Church. The Church is intended to be God’s “shop window” for the Kingdom … but it may not be and often isn’t. It is intended to be God’s hands and feet in the world, working with God to transform the world into Kingdom … but may not be and often isn’t. Think for a moment of the way in which the Church has been actively involved in the Inquisition, the slave trade, the subjugation of women, Apartheid, the Holocaust … In fact, the Christian Church can often be part of that from which the world needs saving! And what I discovered for myself as a young Christian police detective during the Zimbabwean Bush War is that devout Christians can do things completely contrary to the gospel and the Kingdom, all the while believing that they’re carrying out God’s will. They can be the people who are most blind to the problem.
What it all boils down to is this: the Church is authentically the Church to the extent that it is engaged in mission. If it isn’t, it may be many things – but it isn’t what God intends as the Church. Let me put it this way: if the Church isn’t engaged in God’s mission, it’s engaged with something other than that. At the very least it will be distracted from its calling and task; at the worst, it will be actively involved in opposition to what God is doing.
Mission transforms a church. Most significantly, it both challenges churches to focus on being more faithful rather than more successful, and shows them the way to do that. Because mission is always focussed outwardly, and calls on us to pay very particular attention to the people most often overlooked, it immerses us in the process of dying and rising that Jesus told us is the way to Life.
Churches that are involved in mission not only make a Jesus-shaped difference in their communities: the members find themselves being transformed in the process. Mission is Spirit-business, and part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to make us more and more recognisably like Jesus.
That’s a good thing! Two thousand years of Church history has done huge damage to the Church’s credibility. Jesus, by contrast, is as admired and as popular as ever. Mission closes the credibility gap between Jesus and the institution that bears his name. And when that happens, churches themselves become part of the Good News that they proclaim. When that happens, churches grow – naturally, consistently, and for all the right reasons.
Thank you for all your support at our Strawberry Tea. There was excellent entertainment from Hurst Choral Group and good food. A very pleasant afternoon raised £455 for Air Ambulance.
200TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION FAMILY SOCIAL
SATURDAY 26TH JUNE 2016 ASHTON MASONIC HALL AT 6 PM
This family social evening will be a three course meal followed by entertainment from Christopher Howard “A Tribute to the Musicals”. The cost is £22 for adults £10 for under 16 years. It is a celebration of 200 years of the Albion fellowship. It is open to everyone with a connection to the fellowship past or present. Please spread the word to friends of Albion and our local churches. To help with planning we are asking for a £3 non-refundable deposit by 1st October 2015 and final balance by 1st March 2016. Payment can be made to any member of the 200th Anniversary Committee
The Bible study sessions will conclude with a meal at The Kingfisher, Greenfield on 21st July at 7pm. Bible study will resume again in September.
MIDWEEK SERVICE AT ALBION
The mid-week Communion Services are on Wednesday 8th July, and Wednesday 12th August at 11am in the Choir Vestry.
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
Eileen G and family
Amanda an David H
Jean and Edmund Kenworthy
Barbara (sister of Irene) and family (Canada)
Judith, Phil, Nicola and Debbie
Olive Heather Roger and families
Eileen G and family
Stephen, Hilda, Enid and families
Birthday memories of Harry, a loving husband
Birthday memories of Dad, James Holt, also Kathleen, a dear cousin and god-daughter
68th Wedding Anniversary
Loving memories of Irene Kinder
Birthday memories of Jim Potter
In loving memory of mum and dad (Southon), Nana and Grandad
In loving memory of Nora
In loving memory of Harry
In loving memory of a very dear Father
Many thanks to the above for their giving towards the flowers in church
MESSY CHURCH SUNDAY 12TH JULY
This would normally be Youth Sunday or Church Parade – this month we will have “Messy Church”. All young people are invited to attend especially the girls from Rainbows, Brownie and Guides – we will share the first hymn together and return to the service during the last hymn.
Congratulations to Jeff M on receiving the Paul Harris Award from Ashton Rotary Club. It is in recognition of service in the community.
SAINSBURY’S ACTIVE KIDS VOUCHERS
Thanks to everyone for collecting them. We have claimed items to go in the “Albion Explorer Rucksacks” and Ingredients Cards towards purchases for Girl guiding cookery nights.
SATURDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER IS HERITAGE DAY
Albion will be open during the day to welcome guests who want to find out about our beautiful building and its history. Please see Jean G if you can help by learning about a small area of the building and then chatting to the guests about that area.
WHIT WALKS – CAN YOU HELP?
I am looking for photographs taken at the whit walks over the years. I am hoping to do a small display this year at heritage day with a larger coverage during the 200th anniversary celebrations. Any photos you have, I will scan and return to you. If you also have details of the year and names of the people in the photograph, that will be fantastic.
Thank you. Gillian L
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 and Martin B, Alan C, Jean K, Olive B, Eileen G, Irene M, Margaret and Ron T, Joyce M and anyone who needs our prayers at this time.
Doris and Janet W
Memories of Dad
Memories of loved ones
Memories of Paul, Dad and Granddad
Memories of loved ones
Memories of Frank
Memories of Derek Y
HURST NOOK FELLOWSHIP
This will take place on Wednesday 1st July and is a meal out.
See pat for details. There is no meeting in August.
This will be held on Tuesday14th July at 7 30pm.
GIFT DAY AFTERNOON TEA
See the list for food at the back of church. Gift day, Sunday 5th July
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROM HURST NOOK TO:
Sharon L, James R, Vinney C, Denise Mc, Callum H, Jean B and Jean. M
May God bless you and keep you safe
A BIG THANK YOU TO:
Vinney C for our lovely garden, it is enjoyed by everyone.
Well done Vinney. Thanks also to people who donate to the flower fund and arrange and buy the flowers. Well done
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR:
Barbara H, Flo J, Eva H, Martin B, Doris and Janet W, Mavis. D, Barbara R and family and anyone who needs our special thoughts and prayers at this time. We are very sad to hear the news that John M, Husband of Joyce has passed away. John was a lovely man and we are thinking of all the family at this sad time.
Some of us are going through hard times; may God help us to have the courage to cope and come out smiling. With his help we should all be ok Shalom!
Ruth, Colin and Adam
Birthday Wishes to Mum/Grandma from all “Your Family”
In loving memory of a wonderful Husband, Dad and Granddad
For loved Ones.
Loving memories of a Dear Mum, Grandma and Great Grandma
Loving Memories of Stan a Dearly loved Brother and Uncle
Loving Memories of Mother
GIFT WEEKEND AND ANNIVERSARY
Our monthly coffee morning will be held on July 11th from 11am till 1 pm, we ask for everyone’s support as this is a special weekend in our calendar. Please come along it would be lovely to see all our members and friends. During worship on the 12th July personal gifts as well as gifts from the organisations will be received. Envelopes will be available on the previous Sunday for personal gifts. If you are a tax payer and willing to gift aid your donation, please write your name and address on the envelope.
There will be no monthly coffee morning in August.
We continue to think of and pray for Barbara R who is still in hospital and for Judith and Barbara P who are supporting each other at this difficult time. We also ask that Gods love will surround the Wray family on the sudden death of Lyndsay a loving wife to Martin, Mum to Liam and daughter in law to Larraine. We also pray for Joyce M on the sad loss of her husband John.
Thank you for the donations to the earthquake in Nepal. Together with the money from the April coffee morning and the retiring collections we sent £187.
The next meeting will take place at 2.30pm on Thursday, 23 July, when the speaker will be our Minister, Revd. Alan Wickens. All ladies are invited to come along. There will be no meeting during August.