White Church Alternative Notices Week 42
Dear Church Friends,
How are you all? Last week we were looking forward to 2021, turning our backs on 2020 and opening a new page in our yearbook. Unfortunately 2021 hasn’t started as we had hoped. When the Prime Minister announced the third lockdown, I thought about the game of snakes and ladders. After the first vaccine was approved and certainly after the second one, it felt as though we had just gone up a long ladder and were moving towards the final square on the board. All of a sudden when we reached square 97, we landed on the very long snake that takes you all the way down and nearly back to the beginning. However, the game continues as you keep rolling the dice and start climbing again and eventually reach square 100 – it just takes a bit longer. We mustn’t lose hope. As various officials have said “ this is a marathon and not a sprint.” As more and more vaccines are given, people should get the protection needed for a return to a more normal life. I have just heard that a third vaccine has now been approved and although supplies may not be available until the Spring this must surely be a favourable roll of the dice. This news comes like the green shoots of the bulbs that we can see pushing through the icy ground and must give us renewed hope for the future.
Have you been able to keep warm enough this week? We have had some glorious, sunny but very cold mornings and the frost was glistening like a myriad sparkling tiny lights or stars. It was picturesque but treacherous to walk on and we had to be very careful on the pavements. The last three days John and I have put on our hiking boots and taken our walks along St Annes’ beach towards Blackpool for about a mile and then back again. The frosty pavements at the start were tricky to walk on, but the sandy beaches were free of ice and a good way to be able to stride out and get some exercise. As the tide has been well out every morning we could walk well away from the edge of the beach. It is surprising what a different vista one has from several hundred yards out. When the sun was shining, the buildings lining the road were highlighted and so much more noticeable and attractive. It made me realise that in life, sometimes when we stand back and look at things from a distance, we get a totally different perspective.
During this lockdown we need to remember those of our congregation living alone for whom a phone call would brighten their day. Remember our faith in the Lord will get us through this.
A poem of hope from Marian Cleworth
I’ll cherish the here and now, not worry way ahead,
But delight in each new moment of this day instead.
I won’t scan the far horizon searching for the rain,
But enjoy the present sunny skies, then I will surely gain
Strength from being happy, joy from being glad,
To cheer me like a sunbeam if I feel down or sad.
I’ll leave to God the future, trust Him all the way,
And thank Him for each precious hour He’s given me this day.
Lancashire West Missional Partnership Zoom Coffee Morning on Tuesday 12th January @ 10am
“Hope this year will be filled with fellowship and faith journeys. You are invited to an online Advent Coffee morning for your Partnership that will be led by Chris Lamb. Looking forward to see you all.”
If you haven’t received the link to join this, please let me know and I will send it to you.
A reminder that either Janet or Jim will lead a simple 20 minutes reflective prayer meeting every Sunday evening 6.30-6.50 pm. You should have already received the Zoom invitation link which I forwarded from Jim. This link, meeting ID and passcode is the same each week. If you have lost the link please let me know and I will send it again. If you don’t use a computer you can also access it by phone.
Don’t forget that the URC, through the Daily Devotions team, continue to produce Sunday services which can be listened to online and followed on paper, in addition to any local worship provision. Their website is www.urc.org.uk
Jan H has asked me to include a further thank you following the 2nd week of the Xmas Toy Appeal.
“We once again had a fabulous response with 4 groaning tables full of a variety of toys, gift vouchers, books, toiletries, smellies and cosmetics. The goods were collected by Rev Janet who took them to Fleetwood to be distributed. Once again the response was that of really deep gratitude that a better Xmas would be had by Children who would otherwise be without. So my thanks once again to all the Congregation, and some Church Friends from outwith of the Congregation, who rallied to the call.”
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.
We have much to be thankful for as this poem by Iris Hesselden indicates.
Thank you Lord, for the special times, those days I set apart,
The times of joy and happiness are stored within my heart.
Thank you for the days of youth when all the world was new,
When plans and schemes were only dreams that never would come true.
Thank you for those other times when things went sadly wrong,
Through love and care and answered prayer, You helped me to be strong.
For all the happy, special times, so many I recall,
For joy and tears, throughout the years, Lord, thank You for them all.
John A found a poem by Peter D Hehir written about the current situation. If you want to read it, it begins “They said the world was closed today” and can be found on Facebook.
Here are a few more of the items that Arthur L has supplied.
An edition of the Bible printed in London in 1631 had to be withdrawn from circulation owing to a typographical error. One vital word had been missed out of the seventh commandment, as it read, “Thou shalt commit adultery”.
At a church service, the Minister asked the Lord for a special Blessing for one of the congregation who was shortly going to America. The prayer went as follows ”……. and may the Lord bless you in America and keep you there”.
Seen on a church weekly newssheet. “Twenty members were present at the Church Meeting at the home of Mrs M……. Mrs B and Mrs H sang a duet, “The Lord Knows Why.”
Correction to a Biblical Misprint last week. Please note that in John 15: 13, ‘wife’ should read ‘life’. Thus correcting ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his wife for his friends.
Let us pray
Please give us strength to cope during this period of lockdown. Keep the light of hope shining in our hearts. We pray for those experiencing loneliness or isolation; those who have lost loved ones; those in hospital or awaiting operations or treatment. We pray for all health care workers and ask you to give them strength and fortitude to get through the enormous workload put on them at present. We pray for those administering the vaccines and give thanks for the researchers who developed them. Please help us to stay positive and with Your love, help and encouragement we will get through this and be able to come together in worship when it is safe to do so. 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