February – March 19
As I write this letter we have just had news that Mal’s second term of 5 years working with us has been agreed which I’m sure we all agree is great news. We can now plan and take our work forward, as we had hoped, building up our connections and commitments to our local communities, aiming to meet needs, and continuing to benefit from the guidance, help and inspiration that Mal brings from his experience and practice of church related community work.
I think it is particularly good to hear this news at the beginning of the year as we look forward making our plans to live out our Christian lives in our neighbourhoods and particularly because Mal and Lorraine now have the assurance that their future here in Blackburn is settled for the next 5 or 6 years.
All our Churches have benefited from the work that has been done with the help of Mal and we are looking forward to doing more. Thank you Mal and Lorraine for all you do it is very much appreciated.
As you may know my role as General Assembly Moderator means that I have many opportunities to share in the life and work of our National Church. Recently I was at the United Reformed Church Youth Assembly held at Whitemoor Lakes, an activity centre in Staffordshire, where over 100 young people up to the age of 26 gathered for the Youth Assembly. The Youth Assembly does necessary business about youth work across the denomination whilst having fun, fellowship and making friends all surrounded by worship and prayer. We are truly blessed in the URC by having very talented, capable and enthusiastic young people in our churches who do wonderful work in so many ways. I’m not sure if you are aware, and I was surprised when I was told that 25% of our National church family is young people in this age group which is great because as we realise they are the future.
The theme they chose for this year’s Youth Assembly, and their programme going forward, is ‘One Body’ echoing the words of 1 Corinthians Chapter 12: 12-27 which they subtitled as ‘we are all in it together’. A great message for us to remember as we live out our lives in todays world which more and more it seems says ‘I’m alright Jack and devil take the hind most’ advocating that people take care of themselves without thought for others. As on so many occasions young people have a knack of putting their finger on that crucial spot, asking that leading question and pointing the way ahead.
So let us respond to their prompting by living out being the ‘One Body’ of Christ, recognising that we are ‘all in it together’, doing our best to catch the enthusiasm and excitement of our young people as we worship, work and play together and as we live out the love of God by Walking the Way and living the life of Jesus today, tomorrow and the next day in all we do and say.
Thank you all for so generously bringing items of food suggested each week this has meant we have been able to take more food to the Foodbank which is so desperately needed.
Our suggestions for February and March are as follows:
3rd Feb Tin of tomatoes
10th Feb Packet of pasta
17th Feb Packet of tea or coffee
24th Feb Tin of fruit
3rd Mar Tin of meat
10th Mar Tin of vegetables
17th Mar Tin of soup
24th Mar Tin of rice pudding
31st Mar Packet of biscuits
These are only suggestions, if you are unable to bring something each week then we will be happy to accepted food as and when you are able.
John East makes an appeal – Last year you kindly funded Urmila for her art course work. She passed outstandingly and was offered a bursary at art college in London last October.
I am appealing to find funds for Tinta Ali, from the Ivory Coast, to help him pay for his course Fees. He has been waiting a long time for a final decision on his asylum appeal. He has worked relentlessly for the Asylum Refugee Centre in Blackburn (ARC) and Darwen Asylum Refugee Enterprise (DARE) and has supported many French speaking Asylum seekers and refugees interpreting as well as being an outstanding YMCA champion. He spent a few days supporting an archaeological dig in the Yorkshire Dales. I have no doubts of has credibility and integrity. The total cost for his leadership course modules is £1162. Hope you can help in some way. He is an outstanding young man who has been selfless in his commitment to others like himself.
If you can’t find any funding opportunities – please place Tinta in your prayers that his life will take a new turn.
A ‘thank you’ from Tinta for our donation of £100 in response to the above appeal –Tinta says –
Your kindness and generosity I’ve never expected, I’m grateful and humbled to all for your contributions. I’ve been waiting to study for some time but couldn’t do so because of my financial circumstance. However now I’m able to continue my study thanks to you all. I’m most grateful for ever. God bless you all for your kindness. From Tinta Ali
December – January 18
As you read this we will have entered the period of Advent in the Church Calendar but what does Advent mean to you?
Advent begins four Sundays before December 25th and lasts about four weeks and prepares us for Christmas! We all know Christmas – don’t we?
Shopping, planning, buying, baking, parties, Christmas fairs, dinners, Santa, cards, gifts, decorating trees, Advent wreaths and calendars, carol singing and stressing.
But there’s a lot more to it!
Christmas is about Jesus entering our world and Advent is the expectant waiting, hopeful anticipation and cheerful preparation of God breaking through into our lives…In all moments, all places, all times,
Past future and present.
Commemorating the birth of Jesus, preparing for Christ’s return and welcoming God into our lives everyday. Advent prepares us for these events and reminds us there’s joy in waiting and it begins the Church year.
Advent is not about…stressing about Christmas or rushing around shopping or a race to December 25th. Advent is also not lent… it’s about hope, not repentance.
Lent is more of a spring cleaning of our lives and Advent is a cosier getting our homes ready to welcome a special guest…Jesus, the one we’ve been waiting for.
Advent is a period in which we recall the hope we have in Christ. God told Abraham that through Him all the nations of the world would be blessed, because He trusted and put His hope in God. The Old Testament spoke of the coming of Christ, of how a Saviour would be born, a king in the line of King David. He would rule the world wisely and bless all the nations. We too believe in God’s promise to send Jesus again to this world to establish His kingdom upon the earth.
Advent is not about the shopping, planning or buying etc, it’s about expecting, waiting, hoping and praying. If we’re sick of Christmas by December 25th, we haven’t done ADVENT correctly.
Let each one of us this Advent prepare to receive once again the child in the manger and take the hope of Advent to those we meet and bring glory to God in the highest. O come O come Emmanuel.
Go well and go with God,
Every blessing, Mal
23rd December Christmas Service, lunch and Carol Service
This year we are trying a new arrangement on the 23rd December when we will have a Christmas Service in the morning, at 10.30 followed by lunch together and then a Carol Service .
Since we suggested a change to the way we collect for Foodbank we have had a brilliant response resulting in a lot more food being collected. Our suggestion for December and January are as follows:
2nd Dec Tin of tomatoes
9th Dec Christmas Treats for children or adults
16th Dec Christmas pudding or custard
23rd Dec Tin of fruit
30th Dec Biscuits
6th Jan A packet tea or coffee
13th Jan A packet of pasta
20th Jan A tin of rice pudding
27th Jan A tin of meat
These are only suggestions, if you are unable to bring something each week then we will be happy to accepted food as and when you are able
October – November 18
The church secretaries and Mal are planning to share the job of writing the letter for our church magazines from now on. As you can see, I am starting the new system off for the October/November edition! This is something I’m not used to doing, so please bear with me!
This is a new season for us following the retirement of our much-loved minister, Lena. Her retirement service was very well attended, and I think a great tribute to Lena, her love for Jesus and her ministry with us. She will be very much missed. I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who helped in any way to make the service and the celebration meal afterwards so special.
As we all know, Lena’s pastoral care was second to none, and we need to ensure that we care for one another. If you know of anyone who needs a visit, please let your elders know so that this can be arranged.
Well – here we go into autumn after an amazing summer! I always think that autumn is like the start of a new year, following the summer break. Our young people are back at school and college, and a new season of events is about to start. Our harvest services will be taking place and Strictly Come Dancing is on the television – a sure sign of autumn and of the nights drawing in!
One of the main events in October for our churches is the inaugural Missional Partnership East Area Get-Together at Revidge Fold on Saturday 20 October from 10:30 (refreshments) until 2:00pm. As you know, our mission enabler is Daleen Ten Cate. Please do come along if you can, as it’s the first time we will be getting together with friends from the missional partnership churches. It is also an opportunity to share the work we do in Jesus’s name in our communities. Refreshments will be provided, but please bring your own packed lunch!
With my best wishes
Maurice Bradley (Church Secretary, Revidge Fold)
By the time you read this we will be in the season of Advent and the theme for our Advent Pastorate Bible Study this year is going to be ‘A Child is Born’. However there is another Bible Study which will be run in churches throughout the country entitled ‘What Are You Waiting For’ which is the latest York Course and to me this is a poignant question to be answered.
As Christians we know what we’re waiting for but how do we get the message across to those outside the Church in new and exciting ways amidst all the tinsel and baubles, the Christmas cards and the hustle and bustle of buying presents.
Advent is a time of waiting, waiting with great expectations for the time when we celebrate the Birth of Jesus and meet Him face to face. The problem with waiting is that we are often not very patient and therefore we miss the point and by the time the big day arrives people are so tired that it becomes just like any other day and Jesus is forgotten.
The season of Advent also brings Hope and as Christians we need to pass that Hope on to those we meet in our daily lives and whom may come into our churches maybe for the first time in a long time or perhaps for the first time in their lives in the Hope that they may come to realise the True Meaning of Christmas.
My Hope is that however and wherever you spend Christmas this year that you remember that Jesus is no longer a babe in a manger but that He is alive in the world today. That’s surely worth celebrating and the message we need to get across to everyone we meet so that they too may be filled with the Hope that the birth of Jesus brings to all His people.
Finally may I take this opportunity to thank you for all the support you have shown to Lorraine and I during the past year and wish you all a blessed and peaceful Christmas. May you receive all that you Hope for this Christmas and find ways to share that Hope with everyone you meet during the coming year – what are you waiting for?