Dear Church Friends,
Hello once again – It’s now Week 35. Are you feeling more hopeful as the light at the end of the tunnel becomes slightly brighter? Three possible vaccines sound very promising and we thank God for this hopeful news and pray for all those involved in developing vaccines and those who ensure the testing and safety of them. We look forward to the time when we all can join together in worship without restrictions. I have read that in 1864, the English philosopher and writer Isaac Taylor wrote his definition of a family. He thought it might be husband and wife, brother and sister, son and daughter, or any combination of those, provided they were “ bound together by affection, esteem, respect and unaffected regard for each.” A family could be as few as two people, “provided they are one in unselfish attachment.” Our ideas of what might be a family may have expanded these days but the bonds that hold families together will still be the same. You are all part of the White Church Family and we will come together again when ‘tomorrow will be a good day.’
Although the weather was miserable on Thursday most of the other days have been fine for those able to get out for walks. This week there have been very high tides and strong winds but it was good to see the new sea defences at Fairhaven Lake proving so effective. The power of wind and sea is enormous and everywhere looks so different during the highest of tides. Fortunately one can walk along the lower part of the sand dunes at high tide when there is no beach to walk on and we were surprised to see a lone wagtail searching for something along the shore-line. I wonder what he was looking for? A lot of debris had been washed up at previous high tides, so who knows what was among it. It’s not only uplifting to get outside and amongst the natural world – music can have that effect too. I heard the first movement of Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, known as the Pastoral, on the radio a few days ago and that always has the same effect on me. It’s beautiful music which has the power to transform and uplift one, especially the gorgeous second movement – one of my favourite pieces of music. I always feel better after listening to it and can imagine strolling along in the countryside and feeling the power of God’s wonderful world around me.
All this reminds me of a poem which I quoted in Week 9:
No sunbeams pierced the sky today,
We huddled in the rain
Relentless storms kept pressing in
To soak us once again.
Now, as day gives way to night,
Clouds billow just the same,
But out upon their distant edge
There glows a rim of flame
Reminding us that when life’s storms
Around us crash and roar,
There, beyond the darkest cloud,
The spirit yet can soar
And see the glory still to come,
A future yet unknown;
God’s promise of a brighter day
When stormy times have flown.
Count your blessings and thank the Lord for them.
Anne F has sent me these two photos of painted stones for Remembrance from the local area along with an interesting family story. Thank you for your contribution Anne.
Our family is a bit unusual having Great Grandfathers who were on opposing sides in the First World War
Scottish Great Grandfather was a Sergeant with the Highland Light Infantry and was sent to Gallipoli with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Having never previously left the West of Scotland, arriving in what is now Turkey with his kilt and bicycle must have been a shock.
Polish Great Grandfather was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army and spent some time on the Italian front, quite different from his home area.
On first thinking about the enemy Great Grandfathers it just seemed bizarre and irreconcilable. I don’t know what motivated either of them but presumably both of them thought they had right on their side.
After the war they both returned to their home areas, resumed their clerical jobs and both of them married quickly and started a family. I like to think these are the things that really mattered to them and that they had more in common than divided them.
Christmas 2020 Services. As mentioned in the Update Letter, if we are permitted by the Government, the intention is to hold a service on:
EITHER 24th December – Welcoming Christmas, including Holy Communion “ at 11.30pm
OR 25th December – Family Service for Christmas Day “ at 10.30am
Please would anyone who is likely to come to one of those services, inform me of their preferred choice. A decision will be made following your response.
Churches Together in St Annes. Lytham St Annes Express Christmas Supplement
Rev Stephen Heath Minister of Church Road Methodist Church St Annes has informed us that the Lytham St Annes Express has offered to work with Churches Together in St Annes, to produce an 8 page Christmas supplement. Topics covered may include telling the Christmas Story, publicising services, highlighting some of the challenges we have overcome over the course of the year and how the churches are engaging with their local communities.
CTiSA are happy to include other churches in Fylde if they wish to be involved. The Elders at the White Church have expressed an interest in participating and ask anyone who has any Christmas poems, stories, puzzles, cartoons, pictures or anything suitable to put in, to please send details to me or to Joan B who is co-ordinating this. I’ve not received anything so far. Please help if you have anything suitable.
A Christmas Meal Delivery Service
There will be a free Christmas meal delivery for isolated individuals or needy families.
Can you nominate anyone that you are aware of (including yourself) who is unlikely to be able to make a Christmas meal or unable to join family/friends for a Christmas meal?
Nominations with names and telephone numbers must be passed to Ruth on firstname.lastname@example.org or Joan Baldwin no later than Dec 12th.
Each nomination is followed up with a phone call from the organisers asking——
Are they happy to receive a meal, free of charge.
Where the meal should be delivered.
How many people want a meal.
Access to premises.
Each recipient will be given a number to ring for emergencies/changes of circumstances.
Each recipient will be called to confirm their delivery and the approximate time of delivery on Christmas Day.
Sunday Zoom Worship
Rev Jim and Rev Janet will be providing a Zoom Worship based on the weekly Home Service printed sheet. If you would like an invitation for this Sunday, please let me know and I will send you the weekly link. The service will begin at 11am sharp.
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.
Let us pray
Thank you for the good news on vaccines received this week. Be with and comfort those who are still catching Covid or suffering from its after effects either directly or indirectly. Give them your love. Be with those who have lost loved ones in recent weeks. Sustain them through their grief. Give them your love. Be with the hungry and the homeless and those who work with them. Give them your love. Be with your White Church Family and give them your love and peace.
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