Dear Church Friends,
Hello everyone once again. How are you this week?
Last Sunday 30 people attended our worship, including 4 people for whom it was the first time back. We were pleased to see them. I should like to thank Andrew Barratt for providing an uplifting service and for playing the piano during a period of reflection and also at the end of the service. Andrew reminded us of ‘how many sleeps to Christmas it was’. The answer was 68 and supplied by David H from his new abode in the Midlands – David won the virtual Mars bar!
In the early hours of Sunday the clocks will go back an hour, thus heralding light earlier in the morning but dark earlier in the evening. Depending on whether your cup is ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’ will affect whether you welcome the change or not. Life as we now know it is so different this year that even the most optimistic may struggle with the shorter colder days to come. We must look for the positives in everything and to quote from Anon: “No matter what misfortunes come, what chores you have today, what losses, trials, ills and spills, may somehow come your way. In spite of all you must deplore, let this be understood, if you’ve the mind, you still will find, there’s always something good.” Thank the Lord for each and every blessing sent to us.
I am delighted to read that ‘Autumn Watch’ returns to our television next week. It seems a long time since ‘Springwatch‘ kept us going through late May and it will be interesting to see what format the programme takes this time. Nature may be approaching its period of hibernation and rest but it’s all in preparation for renewal and regrowth next year. Tiny seeds can hold within them all the things necessary to grow into plants. Even though we may feel tiny and insignificant at times, we too are filled with the potential for greatness. Hold onto this thought during your darker moments.
Thank you Peter F for the lovely fungi photos taken in Lytham Hall grounds.
If you have downloaded the NHS Track and Trace App, the QR Code for the White Church is positioned in the main porch on the wall to the left of the steps leading into the Sanctuary. It is not a requirement to use this, as all names are put on the Booking Register for that week and each Register is retained for three weeks.
If anyone who visits our Church is unfortunate to receive a positive test result at any time, please would you let me know.
Over the last few months there has been a lot of work done outside and inside the church and during the next week I hope to issue a special newsletter to update the congregation about this.
I hope those of you who use the internet watched the address given by Revd Dr John Bradbury via the YouTube link which was part of last Sunday’s letter from the Moderator, Revd Brian Jolly. It is very interesting and thought provoking.
November 2020 from Rev Janet Calderley
At this time of year, as the nights grow longer and the temperatures drop, we gather round our ‘hearths’ (or televisions) for warmth and companionship and the season, especially from the end of October up to Christmas, becomes a time for remembrance. After the celebrations of harvest and the storing away of provisions for the winter months ahead, with its long nights spent gathered round the fire telling stories, our ancestors thoughts would naturally turn to the past. Towards the end of October the Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sowain’) with much feasting, eating up foods that couldn’t be kept for long and with special delicacies only available at this time of year.
Samhain was a thanksgiving and an honouring of ancestors who it was believed still looked over their descendants from the spirit world. The barriers between the worlds of the living and the dead were thought to be very thin at this time and the Celts believed that it was possible for spirits to cross over to the living world. Bonfires were lit and a lot of noise was made to guide the good spirits and to scare away the bad. As Christianity spread evangelists and missionaries soon realised that it would be impossible, (if not actually undesirable), to abolish all the pagan festivals. People need to be able to celebrate, give thanks, and to remember and re-tell the stories which have shaped their communities. The festivals were therefore reinterpreted for a Christian community.
Samhain became Halloween, when Christians got ready to celebrate all the saints who had died following Christ, and ‘All saints’ day’ was followed by ‘All souls day’ the time to remember all who had died, especially members of your own family. Many churches today hold memorial services on November 2nd for those who have died in the previous year although non-conformist churches such as ours often hold the service on the first Sunday of November rather than on the day itself. But all saints/all souls isn’t the only occasion for remembrance at this time of year. For a long time the old festival of Halloween was eclipsed by the more recent celebration of bonfire night – the rather gory commemoration of the foiling of what could be called a terrorist plot to destroy the king and parliament in one go. The marking of the occasion was encouraged by the rhyme, “Remember, remember, the fifth of November/ Gunpowder, treason and plot/ I see no reason why gunpowder treason/ should ever be forgot.” As safety consciousness has increased in recent times bonfire night has become ever more restricted to organised firework displays and Halloween has regained its popularity with the reintroduction from America of the mediaeval custom of trick or treat.
Perhaps the most significant remembrance though is that of the 11th November and the Sunday closest to it. First observed in 1920, when it was called Armistice Day in recognition of the day on which the fighting of the First World War ceased, Remembrance Day has gained in importance again in recent years as we have passed significant anniversaries of the beginning and ending of the 1st and 2nd World wars and particular battles within them, and as British troops have been engaged in fighting in more recent battles, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. It has become a symbol not just of remembering those who have died or been injured but of standing against injustice and oppression, and of fighting for peace. And who knows, in future years we may also be remembering the battles we are fighting at the moment against disease as we strive to defeat Covid 19, and as we remember the ’Black Lives Matter’ campaign will we have a day to celebrate life itself and acknowledge that all lives matter?
And of course as we leave November and enter into December, we begin one of the most important seasons of the Christian year, Advent, when we look both forward and back as we remember what God has done for us in the past, reflect on what he is doing for us now, and prepare for what is to come as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Let us reflect, remember and celebrate with thanksgiving to God.
Marion C took this photo of the window of a shop in Woodlands Road, Ansdell.
Marion has walked past the Wild Ginger gift shop in Ansdell this last few days and noticed the new window display. Painted onto the glass are sights from the Fylde Coast, including The White Church.
Marion spoke to the owner and was told that this display would be staying for quite some time and any seasonal displays would be above this. It will bring a smile to your face, so if you are able to visit the area please have a look.
Fairtrade Advent Calendars
Janet S is selling the Real Advent calendar again which has Fairtrade chocolates and a booklet for children explaining the real meaning of Christmas. She would welcome purchases and donations and will use the profit to buy more. The Fylde Fairtrade Group donates them to our three chosen charities- Sydney Street Children’s Centre in St. Annes , Blackpool & Fylde Home Start and Fylde Coast Women’s Aid. In the past we have also supported Brian House Children’s Hospice but they don’t want chocolate eggs or calendars anymore just money. The purpose is to promote the Christian message and Fairtrade.
Janet also has the Traidcraft Autumn/Winter catalogue featuring Christmas cards, craft and food. These can be picked up in Church on Sundays, Janet can drop one off or it can be viewed online.
Contact: Janet S. 01253 739195 / 07837 750810
After last Christmas, Janet wrote in the church notices that the profit from selling over 200 calendars and donations meant that 120 calendars were delivered to the chosen charities. I realise that it won’t be as straightforward this year, but please let’s try and give as many children as we can a bit of cheer this December. Please speak to Janet if you require any further information. Thank you in anticipation.
A Message from Christian Aid
This Christmas your church can join thousands of churches around the UK in our collective moment of solidarity and hope, Carols for Christian Aid, on the first Sunday of Advent.
At Christmas we celebrate Emmanuel, the incarnation of love. A love that never fails. A love that unites. A love that builds hope.
This year you’ve shown incredible kindness throughout the coronavirus pandemic to your neighbours near and far. We have learnt that when we stand in solidarity with each other, we can face a global crisis.
In Ethiopia, and around the world, people living in poverty are on the frontline of another kind of crisis – the climate crisis. Another crisis that we must tackle in solidarity with our global neighbours.
On the 29 November, we’ll be using the carol ‘When out of poverty is born’ in our services, and taking a collection for our neighbours facing crisis, in a shared act of hope with our local and global communities. We’ll be building hope for our sisters and brothers like Kawite, facing unrelenting drought due to the climate crisis. Kawite and her daughters had to walk for five hours to collect water for their family. Her children missed school and often went hungry. When the drought became unbearable Kawite and her community came together to build a local pond, with the help of Christian Aid’s partners. The pond provides a safe, reliable water source for the whole community. Kawite can now spend time on her business, send her children to school, and build a hopeful future for her family. Our traditions may look different in this year of social distance, but love is never distant. Love calls us to action. Join us on Sunday 29 November to show that love still builds hope.
Yours sincerely, Ann Hayes Christian Aid’s Christmas celebration team
For more information please look at the Christian Aid website.
Our Worship tomorrow – Sunday October 25th will be led by Rev Terry Hudson.
His theme will be from Exodus 33. Moses.
If you are intending to come, please will you let me know by 6pm today.
Our Worship on Sunday 1st November will be led by Val Atkinson and will include communion.
Val Atkinson will be celebrating All Souls Day within the Communion Service on November 1st and invites anyone who would like the name of a person now departed to be read out and a candle lit in their name to please contact her at email@example.com or 01253 730484.
and she will recall the name or hold the name in silence if you prefer.
Names please by October 31.
Val also has some wooden British Legion Remembrance Crosses, with poppies attached, if you would like one on which you can write a name or occasion. These crosses can be “ planted “ in the ground around our Peace Pole on Remembrance Sunday after the service. A donation will be appreciated. Please contact Val as above.
Rev Jim Williams has offered to lead weekly Bible Studies, both via Zoom and physically, starting with Genesis.
If you are interested in joining in please let the Acting Secretary know.
Sunday Communion Services
Rev Jim and Rev Janet conduct a regular Communion service on Sundays at 7pm. This can be accessed on Zoom and by phone. People should ring Jim – 01253 896371 or Janet – 01253 896056 for details and access.
Please remember that the clocks go back one hour tonight.
Let us Pray
Please be with us all in the darker days of winter to come. Be our Good Shepherd and watch over us as we face the future not knowing when things will improve. Help us to understand there is a reason for everything and we need to have patience and trust in you. Please hold us all in the comfort and peace of your abiding love. Amen.
Please join me in saying the Grace together.
May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore. Amen
God Bless you all