Future Events and Info

April – May 22

Church Calendar for April

Sunday         3rd       10.30 am       Rev Adam Woodhouse

Monday          4th        2.00 pm         1st Monday group – Speaker Rev’d Lena Talbot.

Wednesday   6th       7.00 pm         Life on the Breadline Bible Study on Zoom

Sunday         10th     10.30 am       Palm Sunday – Rev’d Lena Talbot

                                                            Service with Communion

                                                            Lesson: Luke 19: 28-40      Reader Margaret Estill

Monday          11th     2.00 pm         Elders’ Meeting

Tuesday         12th     1.00pm – 2.55pm   Easter Holiday Club session

Wednesday   13th     7.00 pm         Life on the Breadline Bible study on Zoom

Thursday       14th     2.00 pm         Way Forward meeting on Zoom

Thursday      14th      7.30 pm        Maundy Thursday Tenebrae Service led by

Rev’d Lena Talbot. A joint service with Revidge Fold

URC and Trinity URC.

Friday            15th     10.30 am                   Good Friday Service at Revidge Fold URC led by

                                                            Mr James Mawdesley

Sunday         17th     10.30 am       Easter Day Service with Communion

Led by Sheila McNab

Lesson:  Luke 24:  1-12      Reader: Fozia Mughal

Easter lunch following the service to celebrate the work of South East Blackburn Food Club – all are welcome.

Sunday         24th     10.30 am       Aftab and Fozia Mughal

                                                            Lesson: 1 Timothy 1: 12-17    Reader: Susan Parkinson

Lesson: Luke 4: 14-20            Reader Fozia Mughal

Church Calendar for May

Sunday         1st       10.30 am       Rev’d Lena Talbot

                                                            Service with Communion

Lesson: John 21: 1-19        Reader:  Andrew Parkinson

 

Sunday         8th       10.30 am       Neville Hartley

                                                            Lesson: Revelation 7: 9-17              Reader: Sheila McNab

Sunday         15th     10.30 am       Rev’d Pamela Ward

                                                            Lesson: Revelation 21: 1-6              Reader: Neville Hartley

Sunday         22nd     10.30 am       Aftab Mughal

                                                            Lesson:                                  Reader: Fozia Mughal

Sunday         29th     10.30 am       Barbara Duxbury

                                                            Lesson: Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21                                                                                           Reader: Susan Parkinson

Please note!  Communion for May will be on the 1st May and not on the usual 2nd Sunday.

For details of weekly/monthly activities see below

  • Art and Craft Group meets every Monday morning 10.30 – 12.30
  • 1st Monday Group meets every 1st Monday afternoon in the month at 2 pm
  • Morning Prayers every Tuesday 9.30 am – 10 am on Zoom
  • Judo sessions are every Tuesday and Thursday evening
  • South East Blackburn (SEB) Community Food Club meets every Friday Afternoon

 

 

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February – March 22

Leading Worship

As we know leading worship is a very important aspect of our life as a Christian community. It is good therefore to know that Lorraine, Fozia and Aftab are all actively learning how to lead worship and we are now including them in our preaching plan for the coming weeks and months.

We would therefore like to take this opportunity to congratulate them all for their commitment and enthusiasm and to express our appreciation and encouragement for the time and effort they are freely giving to their learning.

New  external Church Signs and Pictures and Wall Hangings for the Sanctuary

You will have seen banner/posters on the external wall of our church facing onto Westbury Gardens which make it clear what we are about as a church.  We are now beginning to think of how we might change / improve other external signs for our church and the Elders will be bringing suggestions to a church meeting before long.  In addition to this it is suggested that we explore using pictures (paintings/drawings) and wall hangings in our Sanctuary. If you have any ideas or suggestions about this, please tell the Elders.

Once we have some feedback, we will call a church meeting to a discussion and decide how best to take these ideas forward.

We are fortunate that we have an Art and Craft group, and their skills and expertise will help us in our discussions and in our thinking.

You may have met Alice Gilbert who is a Church Related Community Work student, working with Mal and is working with us in various ways. She too will be able to help us in our thinking about how we might best decide on pictures and wall hangings and help us take ideas we agree on forward.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas at what is an exciting time as we begin a new year together.

Activities within our Church

Because of the Covid 19 omicron variant it has been necessary, over recent weeks, to review activities that are part of our normal church life.  The increased risk of infection from the virus has caused us to take a very cautious approach to what we are doing, and all the activities have therefore been stopped for several weeks and our services have been held with us all wearing masks and without refreshments to follow.  As restrictions are now beginning to be lifted, we are now able to allow activities to start again, with care.  The Art and Craft group is meeting as is the Judo Club and the Food club run by the South East Blackburn (SEB) Food club is continuing.  We are therefore pleased to say that now these restrictions are lessening life, with care, can begin to get back to something nearer to normal and hope and pray that this will continue in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, we advise that we all still take care by continuing to wear masks

Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration

The 27thJanuary each year is Holocaust Memorial Day when we stop and remember the horrors of the Jewish, and other Holocausts that have happened during and since the 2nd World War.  Blackburn with Darwen always holds a special event to remember the atrocities that happened and to commit ourselves to never letting this happens again.  This year’s Theme was ‘One Day’ with contributions to an hour-long programme, online due to Covid, recorded on ‘You Tube’ from the Mayor Mr Derek Hardman, 8 BwD Secondary schools, each of which sharing their reflections on the ‘One Day’ theme by making very thoughtful reflections on the following ‘One Day’ straplines

IE One Day – ‘We will realise we are stronger together’,

‘We will realise we are all the same’,

‘Everyone will feel safe’,

‘Everyone will have enough to eat’,

‘We will care for each other,

‘There will be peace in the world,

‘There will be justice for all’

‘There will be equality for all.

There was also a contribution from the Chair of the BwD SACRE (Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education) that reflected on ‘One Day’ we will all understand and respect each other.

The Blackburn Youth MP made a similar contribution followed by a Keynote address from Rabbi Arnold Saunders who particularly mentioned the importance of ensuring good interfaith relations. This was followed by a Statement of commitment and thoughtful contributions from the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen and then from the Chair of the Blackburn with Darwen Interfaith Forum.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Mohammed Khan, drew this important and thoughtful hour of reflections and exchanges to a close by emphasising the importance of this Remembrance Day and how important it is that we all think about what this means to us never forgetting the atrocities that happened as we live and work together day by day in what is our now very diverse community with people from many different backgrounds who follow different Faiths or non.

 

Way Forward

In response to a Question about where we see our church in 3 years’ time as a member church in the Lancashire East Missional Partnership, we have offered the following –

  1. Building on our present community activities to become ‘A Place of Welcome’.
  2. Continuing to work with local schools, leading assemblies, running Messy Church sessions, and doing project work with them.
  3. Being a place used by all sections of the local community to meet friends, enjoy refreshments, and engage in a range of activities.
  4. Providing local access to the services and information offered by a range of agencies.
  5. Establishing a quiet reflective space in our building that can be used for private/group prayer reflection and discussion.
  6. Offering a range of worship styles during the week, and on Sundays, at traditional and other times. 
  7. Engaging in regular Bible Study to build up our Discipleship so we continue to learn to ‘Walk the Way’ and live the Life of Jesus today.

This of course will not happen all at once, but we do see much of the above centring around us becoming an established and well recognised and local ‘Place of Welcome’.

We have, before and during the Pandemic, been doing preparatory thinking about the above and are now planning to hold a Community Open Day on the 2ndApril, at our church to –

  1. A) hear and better understand what local people want the church to provide,
  2. B) encourage and develop active dialogue with people in the local area about what is needed
  3. C) promote what we as a church are already doing
  4. D) build and develop closer community/church relationships.

We also recognise that it is important for us to continue to hold/join in with regular Bible Study session to underpin what we are already doing with local people, community groups we have good relationships with, new ones, as well as organisations that can provide services, from our church nearer to where people live.

Book Reading Group led by The Rev’d Adam Woodhouse

The book reading group is reading and discussing a book entitled Bouncing Forward. The group has met several times before Christmas and will begin again in the next few weeks.  The book is all about being resilient and continuing despite setback and difficulties which of course we are all experiencing because of Covid and other things. If you would like to join in please let Derek know his contact details are on the front page of the Newsletter

Study Course

A 5 week course of spiritual journeying based on the film ‘Hook’ has now started which focuses on the fact that Jesus came with a message of God’s love.  A number of us are taking part in that study.

Lent Course 2022      Life on the Breadline

This Lent course has been developed from the 3 years of Life on the Breadline research as a result of engaging with Church leaders, Christians, and community groups across the UK.

Wednesday March 9th                           Christian responses to poverty

Wednesday March 16th                     “Love thy neighbour” – poverty and inequality

Wednesday March 23rd                     Race, ethnicity, austerity and faith

Wednesday March 30th                     Deficits and assets

Wednesday March 6th                       Housing (in)justice

Wednesday April 13th                         Poverty and structural inequality

The course will be at 7:30pm-8:30pm each week.

This will be held on Zoom details to follow.

Please let the Elders know if you would like to take part.

 

Kairos Hub – 46 Kind Street Blackburn – Grand Opening Saturday 26th March

Come and hear about the story so far and our future dreams and plans

Kairos Housing Provides safe accommodation & holistic support to refused Asylum Seekers & refugees who find themselves homeless within BwD

Kairos Hub is a Christian organisation that help and support people of all faiths or none. Their Management Committee is made up of Christians from a variety of Churches and Church traditions

Eco Church

Elders have been thinking about how best we can take our Eco Church work forward and are proposing that we plant some trees in the grounds of our church.  At the last Elders’ meeting there was further discussion and work is in hand to see how best we might be able to do this.  It is hoped that it might be possible to plant a hedge in one of the beds plant beds in the car park and if this is possible we would like to link this to the ‘Plant a Tree’ initiative which is being encouraged by our National Church as a contribution towards celebrating our 50th Anniversary of the United Reformed Church.  Once we have researched this possibility further, we will bring a proposal to our church meeting for agreement.

 

Church Calendar for February and March

February

Sunday         6th        10.30 am       Rev’d Adam Woodhouse  –  Service with Communion

Lesson:  Luke 5:  1 – 11

Reader Margaret Estill

Monday          7th        2.00 pm         1st Monday Group – A talk by Elaine Jennings from AgeUK

Sunday         13th     10.30 am       James Mawdesley

Lesson:  Luke 6:  17 – 26

Reader Jonathan Tustin

Sunday         20th     10.30 am       Lorraine Breeze

                                                            Lesson read by Susan Parkinson

Sunday         27th     10.30 am       Fred Kershaw

                                                            Lesson:  Luke 9:  28 – 36

Reader Andrew Parkinson

March

Wednesday  2nd      6.30 pm        Ash Wednesday Service at Trinity URC

Saturday        5th        10.00 am – 4 pm

Lancashire East Missional Partnership Church Elders’ and Ministers Away Day

at  Stonyhurst Christian Heritage Centre.

Sunday         6th       10.30 am       Rev’d Lena Talbot

Lesson:  Luke 4:  1 – 13

Reader Sheila McNab

Monday          7th       2.00 pm         1st Monday Group – David Faulkner (Trinity URC)

An illustrated talk

Part 1 – The Falklands and South Georgia.

Sunday         13th     10.30 am       Rev’d Daleen Ten Cate – Service with Communion

                                                         Lesson:  Luke 13:  31 – 35

Reader Derek Estill

 

Sunday         20th     10.30 am       John East

                                                            Lesson:  Luke 13:  1 – 9

Reader Margaret Estill

Sunday         27th     10.30 am       Susan Parkinson and Margaret Estill – Mothering Sunday

                                                            Reading Edward Tustin

Please Note!  The Communion for February will be on the 6th and not on the usual 2nd Sunday.

 

For details of weekly/monthly activities see below

  • Art and Craft Group meets every Monday morning 10.30 – 12.30
  • 1st Monday Group meets every 1st Monday afternoon in the month at 2 pm
  • Morning Prayers every Tuesday 9.30 am – 10 am on Zoom
  • Judo sessions are every Tuesday and Thursday evening
  • South East Blackburn (SEB) Community Food Club meets every Friday Afternoon

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December – January  21/22

Church Calendar for December and January

December

Sunday           5th      10.30 am       Steve Colling

Lesson:  Luke 3: 1 – 6          Reader Derek Estil

Monday          6th        2.00 pm         1st Monday Group – A Christmas Afternoon – all are welcome

Sunday         12th     10.30 am       Margaret Estill and Sue Parkinson – Christmas Traditions

                                                            Communion led by Derek Estill

Tuesday         14th     10 -12 noon  A visit from Olive Primary School children to see our

Christmas decorations and learn about Christmas.

Thursday       16th     7.30 pm         Christmas Lantern Service followed by tea/coffee & mince

Pies – Everyone welcome, the Judo group will be joining us.

Saturday        18th     10.30 am        Prayer Breakfast on Zoom

Sunday         19th     10.30 am       A Christmas Carol service led by the Rev’d Lena Talbot.

                                                            Come along and request your favourite Christmas carol.

The service will be followed by a light lunch.

Saturday       25th     10. 00 am      Christmas Day Service for Revidge Fold URC, Trinity

                                                                URC and ourselves.

 

*************    Sunday         26th                             Church Closed. *************

 

January

Sunday         2nd      10.30 am       Derek Estill

                                                            Lesson: Matthew 2:  1 – 12             Reader  Susan Parkinson

Sunday         9th       10.30 am       Neville Hartley – Communion led by Sheila McNab

                                                            Lesson: Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22        Reader  Sheila McNab

Saturday        15th     10.30 am        Prayer Breakfast on Zoom

Sunday         16th     10.30 am       Doreen Goodship

                                                            Lesson: John 2: 1 – 11                    Reader  Jonathan Tustin

Sunday         23rd     10.30 am       Fred Kershaw

                                                            Lesson: Luke 4: 14 – 21                  Reader  Andrew Parkinson

Sunday         30th     10.30 am       John East

                                                            Lesson: Luke 4:  21-30                   Reader  Margaret Estill

 

  • Art and Craft Group meets every Monday morning 10.30 – 12.30
  • 1st Monday Group meets every 1st Monday afternoon in the month at 2 pm
  • Morning Prayers every Tuesday 9.30 am – 10 am on Zoom
  • Judo sessions are every Tuesday and Thursday evening
  • South East Blackburn (SEB) Community Food Club meets every Friday afternoon
  • Age UK Memory Makers project meets every Friday morning 10.30 – 12 noon

 

Ministry of Flowers

If you would like to donate towards flowers in memory of a loved one, to mark a birthday, for a special occasion, or simply to donate for flowers please let Margaret know.  Thank you to Susan and Andrew Parkinson and Christine Walker who have recently given a donation.

 

Following the COP26 Conference in Glasgow country leaders have made promises that aim to address the continuing warming of our planet that will if not stopped have a catastrophic effect on all forms of life here on Planet Earth. As Christians we are charged with loving each other and looking after God’s world so that others following us will be able to enjoy their lives as we have and are still doing. It is therefore critically important that we too as disciples of Jesus doing our best to live the life of Jesus today in all we do and say do all we can to help.

As you know we have been awarded a Bronze Award for what we are currently doing, and it is hoped that we will be able to do more to progress and be awarded a silver award as soon as we can. So, as we will soon be at the beginning of a new year let us all pledge ourselves individually and as a group of Christians worshiping and working together to do our bit towards slowing the heating up of our planet remembering that every little bit helps!

 May the Peace and Blessings Of Christmas be yours And may the coming year be filled with happiness

 

October – November 21

Ministry of Flowers

Now we are back worshipping in church if you would like to make a donation for flowers in memory of a loved one, to mark a birthday, for a special occasion, or simply to donate for flowers please let Margaret know.  Thank you to Jean Gorton and Susan Stewart who have already given a donation.

Church Calendar

October

Sunday         3rd      10.30 am       Rev’d Michele Jarmany

Monday          4th          2.00 pm        1st Monday Group – Speaker Lena Talbot –

A  Lancashire Childhood

Sunday         10th    10.30 am       Rev’d Adam Woodhouse    Service with Communion

Saturday        16th     10.30 am           Prayer Breakfast on Zoom

Sunday         17th     10.30 am       Rev’d Lena Talbot

Sunday         24th     10.30 am       Mal Breeze

Sunday         31st     10.30 am       Lorraine Breez

November

Monday            1st        2.00 pm        1st Monday Group Games afternoon

Saturday          6th                               Community Remembrance Day – Labyrinth – see below

Sunday           7th      10.30 am       Partnership Communion on Zoom

                                                              (technology dependent) 

Sunday         14th     10.30 am       Simon Baker – Remembrance Sunday

Lesson:  Mark 13  v 1 – 8

Reader Jonathan Tustin

Saturday        20th     10.39 am        Prayer Breakfast on Zoo

Sunday         21st     10.30 am       John East

Lesson:  John 18  33 – 37

Reader Neville Hartle

Sunday         28th     10.30 am       Mal Breeze – First Sunday in Advent

Scottish Society attending

Lesson:  Luke 21  25 – 36

Read by a member of the Scottish Society

 

  • Art and Craft Group meets every Monday morning 10.30 – 12.30
  • 1st Monday Group meets every 1st Monday afternoon in the month at 2 pm
  • Morning Prayers every Tuesday 9.30 am – 10 am on Zoom
  • Judo sessions are every Tuesday and Thursday evening
  • South East Blackburn (SEB) Community Food Club meets every Friday afternoon
  • Age UK Memory Makers project meets every Friday morning 10.30 – 12 noon

Local Community Remembrance event 6th November

It is proposed that we create a meditative ‘labyrinth’ in the church sanctuary with stations that help people to remember/meditate on what has happened during the pandemic giving them a chance to work through their memories, worries and concerns experienced over that last 2 years and their thoughts and concerns about the future. It will be an event when we can all give thanks for the good work that has been done by many people giving help and support freely throughout the difficult times and the losses caused by the pandemic. It will need good publicity to ensure as many people as possible in the community around the church know about it so we will produce and circulate leaflets to all local households.

Tearfund Tap and Toilet Twinning Appeal

A major part of our thinking in our harvest this year will be engaging with and responding to the Tearfund appeal to sponsor a Tap or a Toilet.

Tearfund Tap and Toilet Twinning Appeal helps one in three people who lack access to safe drinking water.  144 million people must get all their water from rivers or lakes. The burden of collecting water mostly falls on women and girls who must make long, dangerous treks every day.  Unsafe water puts people at high risk of water-borne diarrhoeal diseases. Water scarcity, made worse by climate change, means crops fail, food supplies dwindle, and people remain trapped in poverty.

Tearfund works closely with communities to promote good hygiene including handwashing. This helps to protect them against the spread of infection, of any kind of communicable disease, not just in a pandemic. Your Tap Twinning donation will help to give sustainable, reliable and affordable access to safe, clean water in some of the world’s poorest communities.

We can also twin a Toilet to help fund a project in a poor community that will enable families to build a basic toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene – a vital combination that saves lives.

A £60 donation will twin a Toilet or a Tap – let’s hope we can do both.

If you were not able to contribute to this appeal at the Harvest Service you can still contribute any time just contact the Treasurer (Margaret).  Every little will help to make a difference.

Westbury Art and Craft Group and the 1st Monday Group

Following our reopening on the 25thJuly the art and craft group is meeting again and we are happy to report that we have some new members and recently we had 16 people attending.   We are thinking about the possibility that the group may be able to paint appropriate pictures to be displayed in the sanctuary.

The 1st Monday group has met recently and heard about the adventures of Mal sailing round the world on the QE2 when he was working as a chef.  Our next meeting on 4th October is Lena talking about a Lancashire Childhood.  That will be very interesting so please make a note and come along you will be very welcome

Age UK Memory Makers project meets in our building on Friday mornings

Age UK Blackburn with Darwen is a local independent charity that provides a wide range of services and activities for people aged 50 and over in the borough of Blackburn with Darwen. The Services provided include Advice and Information, a wide range of physical activities, a Nailcare cutting service and services to help keep people living independently at home.

The Memory Makers project is an innovative service for anyone who is struggling with their memory (you do not have to have a diagnosis of dementia). Weekly small group sessions offer a range of activities using specialist cognitive stimulation techniques that help promote the working memory rather than relying solely on reminiscence. Typically, people take part in word games, discussions about topical issues, quizzes and creative activities which help to improve communication and social confidence.

The sessions take place on a Friday morning 10.30am to 12 noon at Westbury Gardens United Reformed Church and cost £5 per session. For more information about this and other services from Age UK Blackburn with Darwen www.ageukbwd.org.uk, please visit their website or call 01254 266620

South East Blackburn Community Food Club (SEB)

The South East Blackburn Community Food Club has been shortlisted for a community award in the Blackburn with Darwen Community Awards event that will take place at King George’s Hall on the 3rd November.  Cally himself, the leader of the SEB food club, has also been shortlisted for a personal award for all the work that he does to meet needs in the local community.  We therefore send him and the club our warmest congratulations on this significant achievement and for being recognised for making valuable contributions to meet needs in our community.  We as Westbury Gardens United Reformed Church are proud to be able to support and facilitate the work that SEB does and continues to do.

ECO CHURCH ( An AROCHA Project)

Being an Eco Church at Westbury Gardens, means that we are doing our bit too stop Climate Change which is threatening to destroy GODS WORLD. We are therefore to do all we can to stop doing things that are causing this. It is a wonderful thing to explain that God cares for creation and that this is part of our calling as Christians.  It’s even better when we can demonstrate it. One important thing we can each of us do is to write to our MP to ask them to do all they can to make sure that the COP26 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow Mon, 1 Nov 2021 – Fri, 12 Nov 2021 agrees to make real changes to preserve a liveable climate. Greenhouse-gas emissions must be reduced to net 0 by 2050 and by changing our habits we can tackle the climate emergency & build a sustainable world.

So please write to your MP about this as soon as you can so they know that you want them to do all they can to help stop this disaster that is threatening the very future of life here on Earth and the futures of our Children, Grandchildren and Great Grand children’s lives.

Why we need to mobilise for COP26

In an economy which puts corporate profit above the interests of ordinary people, just 100 giant global companies are responsible for 71% of all carbon emissions. Since 1965, a mere 20 fossil fuel corporations contribute more than 1/3 of global emissions. Not only have they failed to make the shift towards a zero carbon economy, they’ve spent a lot of time and money persuading governments not to legislate for this either. They are also preventing governments from implementing laws and policies that will protect the environment by suing them in corporate courts to protect their profits.

Governments themselves are also undermining action on climate change by negotiating free trade and investment deals that threaten environmental regulations and give fossil fuel companies more power than ever. Many are also giving large amounts of public money to fossil fuel projects across the global south. It’s vital that we expose this and demand a ‘just’ approach to decarbonisation – at the COP and beyond.

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June – July 21

Commitment for Life Quiz 26th June at 7 pm on Zoom 

Sheila McNab is arranging the quiz, in conjunction with Mal, who will be Hosting it on Zoom. This is to raise money for the work of Commitment for Life helping people in Central America.  Donations are to be sent to the Church Treasurer, Margaret Estill her telephone number is on the front page, who will forward the money to Commitment for Life.

Services etc on Zoom June and July

To take part in any of the events listed in Mal’s letter above or to take part in the Commitment for Life quiz please contact Mal by email as soon as you can at malbreeze@me.com or by telephone him on 01254 674862, so he can send you the Zoom joining details and other details etc. All are welcome.

News of our Church Family

Some members of our church family continue to feel unwell. We therefore hope and pray that as the summer months are coming, and life, we hope, returns to something more like normal those feelings of being anxious, worried, and isolated will recede and we will all begin to feel better.

Willie Hood has recently informed the Elders that he wishes to step down as a Serving Elder. We would therefore like to take this opportunity of saying a big thank you to him for his many years as a Serving Elder, and for his valuable contributions to the running of our church, we will miss his wisdom in our Elders meetings. Willie will of course continue to be a loyal member of our church and a Non-Serving Elder.

New Beginnings

As we emerge from the strictures and limitations caused by the Covid 19 Pandemic our minds begin to turn to New Beginnings and how things will be when we get back to church.  This is a moment for us to take stock, to look back at what we have been doing over the years, looking afresh at how we can best continue to witness as practising Christians in and around our local community, and further afield.  Whilst we will of course want to continue worshipping together as we have done before, and, if we all agree, it may be a good time to explore other ways too. This is something we will be able to discuss and explore together once we are able to meet. It will be important that we embrace this opportunity of a New Beginning so we ensure that we continue to do all we can to meet needs in our community, as we have always tried to do, building our outreach in practical and appropriate new ways that engages with people where they are as well as offering friendship and community time in our Church building.

Spring Church meeting

As you know we normally hold our Spring Church Meeting in May, however, these are not normal times and Blackburn as a town, at the time of writing this Newsletter, is still experiencing high rates of Covid19 infection and the associated restrictions still apply. Because of this we have not yet, as we had hoped, been able to open our church. In view of this the Elders feel that it is best to postpone our Spring Church meeting until July in the hope that by then the Covid19 infection rates will be less and we, hopefully, will have been able to open as a Church for Worship and will be getting back to something like normal, we hope you understand.

The Elders are continuing to meet regularly, on Zoom, to ensure that things that must be done are done and we are ready to open as soon as it is safe to do so. Elders are keeping in touch with members as much as possible and our Treasurer is keeping a close control on our church finances. She and all the Elders wants to express sincere thanks for the continuing financial support so willingly given which is so important. Our Building is also being carefully looked after and we are well prepared to open as soon as it is felt it is safe to do so.

If you have questions, or want to know more, please let the Church Secretary know, his contact details are on the front of this Newsletter or speak to your Elder all of whom are more than willing to help in any way they can.

Lancashire East Missional Partnership (LEMP)

The LEMP is comprised of the following churches – Westbury Gardens, Revidge Fold, Trinity (Brownhill), Kingsway, Woodlands (Cherry Tree), Darwen Central, Lower Darwen, Tockholes, Clitheroe, Burnley and Nelson, Gt Harwood and Accrington.  As you know we are expecting a new Partnership minister to join us before too long. Adam Woodhouse is currently completing his training and will be moving to live in Blackburn in the next few months.  He will be living in a new house that is being built in the Lammack area which is conveniently placed for him working with each of the 12 churches in our Partnership.  The gathering together of the above 12 churches into a partnership means that the partnership needs to be officially ‘Commissioned’ before Adam comes and this is planned to take place in a special service on 3rd July probably on Zoom.  Once Adam has finished his training he will be Ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament and Inducted to serve within our newly Commissioned Partnership during a special service on 17th July.  These are, of course, very important occasions in the life of our church and the LEMP. More information will be made available a little nearer the time. We look forward to working with Adam and we know he is looking forward to working with us all.

URC Primary School in Barrow near to Clitheroe is allied to our LEMP

We are very fortunate to have the Barrow United Reformed Church Primary School, which has 150 pupils, and is the only ‘maintained’ URC primary school in the country, as part of our Missional Partnership. Its Governing Board is proud of its history, its URC status, and wants to ensure that it properly reflects the beliefs, ethos the history and tradition of the URC and what it means within primary education.  The school has, over recent months, been having an extension to its building and during this work a ‘time capsule’ was unearthed. This interesting discovery was reported in the local press and on the BBC news as well as being feature on the front page our National Church’s website.

Time capsule from 1876 discovered at URC school

A 145-year-old time capsule, containing ten coins and a rolled-up newspaper, has been discovered in the foundations of a United Reformed Church (URC) primary school.

As reported on BBC News, the glass jar was found “by complete accident” while workers renovated the chapel at Barrow URC Primary School in Clitheroe, Lancashire, built in 1876.The artefact had been placed inside one of the chapel’s foundation stones.

 

Speaking to the BBC, Head teacher Sue Taylor said the “incredible find” had brought the “history of the school alive for the children.”

“It was obvious it was a time capsule when I picked it up. I could hear the coins jangling at the bottom,” she said.

A conservation team is now examining the time capsule and will unroll the newspaper and research the coins’ history.

Building work was carried out at the school in April. The demolition team lifted the foundation stones in the chapel and found the glass jar.

During the first coronavirus lockdown some of the school children buried a time capsule from 2020.

Ms Taylor said finding this capsule meant “history has come full circle”.

“It was found by complete accident,” she said, adding: “It’s so interesting and has sparked so much interest for the children.”

The time capsule is now in the hands of Lancashire County Council’s conservation team which will involve the children as much as possible in the process of conserving it.

When the capsule is returned to the school it will be placed in the new main entrance which is roughly where it was planted many years ago.

Christian Aid/Commitment for Life – Give Thanks for your Vaccine Campaign

URC vaccine campaign raises more than £21,000 for charity

Generous donors have helped the United Reformed Church (URC) beat its initial fundraising target of £5,000 by raising a whopping £21,000 for Christian Aid.

First launched in February, the aim of the campaign is to provide people with the opportunity to show gratitude for their Covid-19 vaccines and help protect our global neighbours for whom the vaccine remains out of reach.

In the UK, 25.3 million people are now fully vaccinated against Covid 19 while some poor nations are yet to receive even a single dose.

Christian Aid is already on the ground, helping keep people safe from coronavirus with practical support, but with donations, the charity can do more.

The Revd Dr Kevin Snyman, URC Commitment for Life Programme Officer, said: “I actually don’t even quite know how to articulate how appreciative I feel. It is just such a phenomenal affirmation of the growing legend that is the generosity of URC members. Amazing! But more than that, it shows how deeply the URC cares about justice. We want everyone in the world to be vaccinated.”We know many of us have been able to make donations and we together are making a difference which is great.  Thank you for your donations, every little helps.

Westbury Talks

This is an initiative we as a church began a year or 2 ago helping us to promote wider thinking and discussion amongst us as a church family and wider afield.  The format is that invited speakers speak on agreed topics which are then discussed as we share food together on a Saturday morning.  Latterly because of the pandemic recent talks have been held on Zoom which has meant that we haven’t been able to share food and discussion in quite the same way. However, the sessions that have been held on Zoom have still been very effective and informative.  We have had talks on Children’s work, on the experience of an Asylum Seeker, Missional Partnership, the work of Northern College and Christians Against Poverty (CAP).  All of these talks have been very worthwhile and those who have attended have learnt a lot.

Our last talk given by Sheila Fielding, who is the manager of Blackburn Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre was most informative.  Christians Against Poverty is celebrating 25 years as a National Charity and the local Blackburn CAP Debt Centre has been working in partnership with the National Charity for 22 of those 25 years making it one of the longest serving partners. Sheila Feilding has been the manager of the Blackburn centre for the last 15 years.  CAP works with some of the most vulnerable families in our community who are finding life hard because of debt and poverty, their jobs threatened, futures looking uncertain, feelings of hopelessness or can’t see what’s coming next, making life very difficult.  Sheila said that for some of them it is as if someone has stopped the clock at 10 minutes to midnight in the dark and dead of night and there’s no telling when the morning will come, and she talked about hope in that darkness that CAP can bring.  Sheila went on to say that we look at what God has done in the past and what he is doing right now.  We have hope and we have a calling to share that hope with those who need it most. She said first we look at where this hope is rooted remembering that Jesus during his time on earth was all about hope especially for those who are on the margins of society.  In Luke Chapter 4 it says ‘the Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour’.

CAP works amongst those who are suffering from debt in practical ways that gives hope and clear thinking showing how debts can be best managed and reduced, over time, releasing those caught up in debt to have the potential to live debt free and with hope and confidence in the future.  It is clearly a vital and important service to many people in our community and we are proud to be able to support the work of CAP and urge us all to think how we might be able to help financially, or in other ways.  If you would like to know more, please contact Derek who’s contact details on the front cover.

April – May 21

Easter Zoom services leading into into May

Thursday 1st  April      8.00 pm        Maundy Thursday ‘Tenebrae’ Service of Shadows

Friday      2nd April     10.30 am        Good Friday Service- Stations of the Cross service

Sunday    4th April    10.30 am        Easter Sunday Service with Communion.

Sunday  25th April    10.30 am        A Communion Service.

Sunday    9th May     10.30 am        A Communion Service

Sunday  23rd May     10.30 am        Pentecost Service including Communion

Sunday  30th May     10.30 am        Trinity Sunday Service including Communion

 

Morning Prayer: These take place every Tuesday Morning at 9.30 am

Prayer Breakfasts: These take place on the third Saturday of each month at 10.30 am – 17th April and 15th May

Quiz Nights: These take place every fortnight on Friday nights 7.30pm – 9.00pm – 2nd April a Good Friday special Easter quiz, 9th and 23rd and 7th and 21st May

 

If you would or anyone you know would like to sign up for any of the above please drop Mal an Email as soon as you can at malbreeze@me.com or telephone him on 01254  674862 so he can send out the appropriate details and order of services etc. All are welcome.

Way Forward at Westbury Gardens(April – May 21)

When writing this newsletter restrictions because of Covid19 are still in place, work on getting people vaccinated is well under way and we are beginning to see the infection numbers coming down. It is hoped therefore that by Pentecost, we will be in a better place than we are now and may be able to think about returning to church and to worship by then. Whatever happens Mal will provide a Pentecost service on Zoom.

The Elders have continued thinking about our Way Forward and what might come next and were pleased to receive appreciative comments and ideas about what was written in our last Newsletter.  Thank you for your responses. If you have any other ideas or thoughts please let the Elders know as it is important that we all agree how we should move forward.

As you know we want to build on our existing community and other work, refresh our building both externally and internally and become a Centre providing a ‘Place of Welcome’ and other services that is open to all in the neighbourhood as a friendly meeting place to have a cup of tea/coffee and a chat etc.

We of course want to continue working with schools, develop the Art and Craft and First Monday’s groups and if possible, hold Spring and Summer children’s holiday clubs’ as soon as we can. Whilst this will not be possible all at once we do want to be well prepared so any thoughts you may have about this will be more than welcome.

Our focus will remain on building up our –

  • Spirituality and Prayer,
  • Community Partnerships,
  • Hospitality and Diversity

and being motivated by the following Biblical Texts

  • James 1:19 to 24 about the importance of Listening

and

  • James 2:14 to 17 about putting our Faith into Action

and two of Archbishop Oscar Romero’s daily meditations summarised below as:

  • Don’t measure worth by counting how many are in the crowd count the sincerity of the heart with which they follow the truth and grace of our divine saviour
  • The proof of prayer is not to say a great many words, the proof of my plea is how do I act towards the poor because God is there.

As we go forward and with all the above in mind the Elders would like our church to hold a Remembrance service for all those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic and then at an appropriate time when Covid restrictions will allow hold an Open/Celebration day

Let’s look forward to the summer when we can meet again with enthusiasm and hope for things to come.