Dear Church Friends,
How is everyone? It’s getting harder to keep cheerful. The clocks have gone back; the sun disappears about 4.45pm; rain has been tumbling from the sky recently; storm Aidan is battering the coast and the news about the resurgence of the pandemic is depressing. However, it is said that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, so let’s look on the bright side.
Last Sunday 30 people attended church. I should like to thank Rev Terry Hudson for leading our worship and playing the piano. Terry gave us hope for the future when talking about Moses whose long life was broken down into 3 periods. After being found in the bullrushes by Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses spent his first 40 years in the court of the Pharaoh where he would have had a life of luxury; by contrast, the next 40 years was spent living in the desert with his wife and family; in the final 40 years he led the Israelites following a call from God. At 80 years of age the best was yet to come! We must keep faith in the Lord and pray for stamina to keep cheerful and provide encouragement to others.
Autumn Watch returned to our screens this week and showed how nature can cheer everyone up. It can shine a light in the dark and the colours of Autumn are stunning. The natural world is a most powerful asset and a walk among trees and plants for 15 minutes has been shown to have therapeutic effects. Animals need to stock up for winter and are busy making preparations. Grey seal cubs are being born on the Isle of May off the Scottish coast and need to put on a vast amount of weight very quickly to survive the winter. Their mother’s milk is very rich and enables this to happen. Nature provides. Red squirrels are creating their football-sized dreys, filling them with soft materials including moss, leaves, grass and fir to make them cosy and warm inside. They don’t hibernate but hunker down inside their cosy home when the weather is bad, venturing out when necessary to rediscover where they have hidden their nuts or raid the bird feeders. Nature provides. Creating a natural habitat for wildlife on former industrial wasteland can change an area radically. In the South Yorkshire Dearne Valley reedbeds were created about 20 years ago and, thanks to reedbed restoration and management around the country, the bittern population is booming (literally) and this year there were at least two successful bittern’s nests at Old Moor, Dearne. Give nature a chance and it provides.
Two swans with 4 cygnets have taken up temporary? residence on the water opposite the Grand Hotel for the last week. One of the adults has a blue ring, although as a special dark coloured treatment has been added to the water to stop algae forming, I found it difficult to read the identification. I think it is V6? If it’s V6D, this swan has visited the area frequently since 2012, but doesn’t usually stay around for very long.
There is a full moon today. This one is called a ‘blue’ moon, but don’t look out expecting to see the moon has changed colour! It is called this because it is the second full moon this month. According to Astronomy Ireland it is also the first Halloween full moon across Ireland and the UK since 1974.
“To look up and not down, to look forward and not back, to look out and not in and to lend a hand.” These words by E. E. Hale, an American author, historian and Unitarian Minister born almost 200 years ago, may help us to achieve a positive outlook on life.
I haven’t had time to complete the newsletter informing you what has been happening inside and outside of the church over the past few months, but will send it out when it is ready.
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.
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.
Janet S 01253 739195/ 07837750810
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.
Our Worship tomorrow – Sunday November 1st will be led by Val Atkinson and will include communion. If possible, please bring your own individual portion of bread or wafer and wine/juice/ water for the communion part of the service. There will be some individual prepacked cups with wafers available for anyone who forgets, so no one will miss out.
If you are intending to come, please will you let me know by 6pm today.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 01253 730484.
and she will recall the name or hold the name in silence if you prefer.
Names please by today.
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.
Our Worship on Sunday 8th November Remembrance Sunday will be led by Rev Jim Williams.
A basket for receiving donations for the Royal British Legion will put out on the back table. Please put any donations in an envelope with Royal British Legion on the front. Thank you.
Rev Jim has asked me to inform you that he has been, as he put it, ‘imprisoned in the Manse’ since Sunday afternoon when he received a COVID-19 positive test result. He was contacted by IPSOS MORI to take part in a random survey the previous week and took a voluntary survey test on Wednesday 21st Oct. He is showing no symptoms and doesn’t feel ill but is constrained to the house until Saturday 31/10/20 morning. His wife and son have tested negative.
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.
This sign has been produced by the URC for use in churches. Someone has made the comment “what a relief that viruses apparently afflicted Isaiah’s readers too!”
Many years ago, the following words were seen outside a little church in the country far from noise and crowds.
“Where there is pain, may you have peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubting, may you have a new confidence. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, may you have understanding, patience and renewed strength. Where there is fear, may you have love and fresh courage.”
This was displayed outside a church that one would have thought was in a place far away from the problems of the world, but, although isolated, there was someone who was acknowledging everyday stress and offering a solution. Let us give thanks to the Lord for these words of encouragement.
Let us pray.
As we face more uncertainties and challenges in the days to come, our hearts cry out to you. Fill us with your spirit and love. Help us to support those in our congregation who are struggling and give us all the strength to get through these difficult times. We pray this in the name of Jesus. 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