White Church Alternative Notices Week 41
New Year Issue 02.01.21
Dear Church Friends,
Happy New Year everyone.
I hope you were able to enjoy Christmas in spite of the restrictions we were under. The 24 of us able to attend the service on Christmas Day appreciated Val’s uplifting and full of light and hope service with its beautiful music and carols. The final carol was ‘ O Come all Ye Faithful’, when, although we couldn’t sing, we could stand in our usual tradition and turn to face the open entrance doors while we listened to the final verse of “ Yea Lord we greet thee born this happy morning”.
I am sure we are all glad to see the back of 2020 and welcome 2021 with hope in our hearts.
As Albert Einstein said “ Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
As you will all be aware of the Fylde has been put into the new Tier 4 restrictions. The new variant of Covid seems to be passed on more easily and more quickly than the original version and poses a greater threat to everyone.
Yesterday afternoon Rev Brian Jolly, the NW Synod Moderator issued a letter to representatives in all churches in the NW Synod which said:
“ Although Tier 4 restrictions allow worship to continue in local churches, many have already decided to close for worship because of the risks involved when people gather together [even with social distancing and other Covid-secure arrangements in place]….. The advice of the Synod Moderators is that although gathering for worship continues to be permitted, even in Tier 4, the safest approach for the time being is for local churches not to provide opportunities for people to gather for worship [other than online]. It is becoming clear that most local churches in this synod have already decided to close, as have most local churches in other synods.”
The Elders have seen this letter and following email discussions together have decided that even though the government has said that communal worship is allowed to continue, following this advice from the NW Synod and also from Rev Jim and Rev Janet, the Elders have reluctantly decided to suspend worship in our church starting on Sunday 3rd January. This is likely to remain the position whilst we are in Tier 4, but the Elders will regularly review the situation with a view to reopening for Sunday worship when it is felt safe again. This is a disappointment to all of us as the Sunday services have been uplifting and well attended. Please consider joining the on-line (Zoom) Sunday evening 6:30pm prayer meeting, details of which follow.
The dial-in weekly Sunday Communion Service which Rev Jim and Rev Janet held will finish for now. While we are in Tier 4 either Janet or Jim will lead a simple 20 minutes reflective prayer meeting every Sunday evening 6.30-6.50 pm – starting this Sunday 3/1/21. Those of you who receive the notices by email should have already received the Zoom invitation link which I have forwarded from Jim. This link, meeting ID and passcode is the same each week. If you don’t use a computer you can also access it by phone.
The doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked. (John 20.19)
Ever present God,
• be with us in our isolation,
• be close to us in our distancing,
• be healing in our sickness,
• be joy in our sadness,
• be light in our darkness,
• be wisdom in our confusion,
• be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors re-open we may with the zeal of Pentecost inhabit our communities and speak of your goodness to an emerging world.
For Jesus sake. Amen
Recently I have heard a bird singing again in the morning before the sun rises. Apparently it is a Robin, as Robins are one of the few birds that sing all year round in the UK. This is due to the importance of holding winter territories. Robins only stop singing for a short period in late summer when they are in moult and inconspicuous. It is lovely to hear on these dark mornings. In spite of the recent cold weather there are many signs of spring appearing. On our recent walks we have seen snowdrops in full flower, also hellebores and the bulbs are pushing their way through the soil and growing rapidly. Roses are still in bloom. All this indicates new life, a world moving through its seasons and hope for the future. The cold weather may cause some setbacks to development but progress will come. Likewise, at present the new variant of Covid-19 is causing a setback and return to harsher lockdown measures, but with two vaccines becoming available over the next few months, we must be optimistic that in due course we will get back to a more normal sort of life and we look forward to a time when we are able to socialise once again. In the meantime we have to remain patient and take care.
Have you made any New Year resolutions? The following is a list I read in a book and provides food for thought.
I will give up complaining and be more grateful.
I will give up pessimism and be an optimist.
I will stop judging harshly and think kind thoughts.
I will give up worry and trust in providence.
I will give up discouragement and be full of hope.
I will give up bitterness and turn to forgiveness.
I will give up anger and practice being patient.
I will give up gossiping and control my tongue.
I will give up being gloomy and enjoy the beauty around me.
No doubt we all have something we could add to this list.
Mary W came across the following poem which she would like to share with you.
You and our Christmas List
We have a list of folks we know, all written in a book
And every year at Christmas time we go and take a look
For that is when we realize that these names are now part
Not of the book they’re written in, but of our very heart.
For each name stands for someone who has crossed our paths some time
And in that meeting they’ve become the Rhythm of the Rhyme
And while it sounds fantastic for us to make this claim
We really feel we are composed of each remembered name.
Even if you may not be aware of any special link
Just meeting you has shaped our lives far more than you may think.
For once you’ve met somebody, the years cannot erase
The memories of a pleasant word or of a friendly face.
So never think our Christmas greeting is just a mere routine
Of names upon a Christmas list forgotten in between
For when we send a Christmas card that’s addressed to you
It’s ‘cause you’re on the list of folks we are indebted to.
For you are but a total of the many folks we’ve met
And you are also one of those we prefer not to forget.
And whether we have known you for many days or a few
In some way you have had a part in shaping things we do.
And every year when Christmas comes we realize anew
The best of gifts that life can give, is meeting folks like you.
So may the Spirit of Christmas that ever and ever endures
Leave its richest blessings in the hearts of You and Yours.
Used Stamps for The Leprosy Mission
Please cut the stamps off your Christmas envelopes leaving a small margin around the edge, put them in a spare envelope and save them until you are able to return to church.
What’s the difference between and optimist and a pessimist?
“An optimist stays up all night to see the New Year arrive. A pessimist stays up all night to make sure the old year leaves.”
Arthur L has supplied me with a collection of humorous items for the newsletter so I will include a few each week.
Some comments seen in motor accident reports.
I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought…….
I had one eye on a parked car, one eye on an approaching van and one eye on the woman behind me……….
The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up so I hit him again……..
I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident……..
Just as I was turning the corner the gatepost came out and struck my car……..
The White Church’s Facebook page has received Happy New Year greetings from John E. at Darwen Central URC. He was the person who organised the summer visits of the asylum and refugee families to Fairhaven, when we were pleased to welcome them to use our church hall as their base during the day out by the seaside. John has asked us to pray for his church and the work that they do.
Let us pray
As we enter a New Year we pray that 2021 will see an end to all the suffering and hardship being caused by the coronavirus throughout the world. We pray that the vaccines will provide this release and enable exhausted health workers to regain their strength and resume normal duties. We pray for the people of Central URC, Darwen and all the work they do to help the asylum seekers and refugees in their area. Please give all of us your strength, encouragement, hope and love in the coming weeks. In the name of the Lord. 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