Awareness

At the time of writing it is Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s such an important issue and something we need to be mindful of throughout the year, for ourselves and for those around us. It seems that ‘we’, nationally and as a society, have lost our way, especially when it comes to our individual needs. Our society is very much driven by financial success, and all about immediate results/delivery.
The demands, stress and strains this puts on our time, energy and wellbeing, as well as the knock on effects it has on our own family life are at tipping point. As a society our health, both physically and mentally, is out of balance – we’ve forgotten what’s important and what real success actually is. The very root as to what
defines success is happiness & fulfilment. But how do you find this? Where do you draw your strength from in times of adversity and challenge? How do you stay true to what makes you happy?

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27

The house is a symbol of protection and safety. Our refuge. It also represents the foundations we put in place, our hope and faith. Jesus’ words and commandments are about love; compassion and understanding in action. How we live our daily lives in the community where we are. Here, using our own unique gifts, skills and talents given to us to serve others we’ll find happiness and fulfilment in abundance.

Feeling alive

“May, more than any other month of the year, wants us to feel most alive” Fennel Hudson. A beautiful description aptly following on from the joys of Easter last month. Remembering the promise of a new and eternal life and the knowledge that Jesus is alive!

Easter Cross
Our Easter Cross adorned with fresh flowers during our Easter morning service. At the foot of the cross are some of the delicious Easter garden biscuits made by our Sunday School. Christ is risen!

What brings you most alive? Is it someone you always look forward to spending time with, family holiday, being out and about in the great outdoors, get together with friends, a hobby or activity, your work?

If you could spend more time on the things you loved to do, which made you feel alive, how different would your day be? Sometimes the tasks we fill our days with are the things that don’t actually bring us fulfilment. We can all to easily busy ourselves chasing opportunities, looking for the next best thing. However this distracts. Pulling you away from what’s important to you. Draining your energy and preventing you from spending the time with those who matter the most to you. The things that make you feel happy. How many times have you said “I don’t have the time to…” We each have the option to make the best of every situation each day brings. To decide where and how our time is spent. Take action today to plan into your diary more of what makes you feel alive, schedule activities around your commitments. See what you can change about your current commitments and duties to make them work better and feel better for you. Watch the effect it brings.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26


You’re invited

You’re invited to join us for some community Easter fun:
Hot Cross Buns Coffee Afternoon & Easter Egg Hunt!
Saturday 20th April between 3pm and 5pm.

The Easter Egg Hunt starts at 3.30pm (don’t be late for this very important date!) Easter bonnets, bunny ears or fancy dress completely optional!

Build up your energy for the hunt and restore it again afterwards with this lovely seasonal treat. Or simply sit back and relax whilst you enjoy watching the fun with freshly toasted hot cross buns and a knob of butter beautifully melting on top along with a nice warming cuppa.

Plus more Easter activities you can enjoy from the comfort of your chair.
Bring along family and friends for some fun time out during the holidays, yummy food and good company. All donations in aid of Church Building Funds.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Happy Easter

What’s on:

Sunday 7th April Chapel Anniversary
Afternoon Service at 3pm followed by tea

Monday 15th April, Wordshop, 7.30pm. ‘Jesus the Game Changer’:
Subject this month is ‘Women & Children’. Meets in the church hall.
All welcome.

Saturday 20th April, Hot Cross Buns Coffee Afternoon & Egg Hunt
3pm – 5pm (Easter Egg hunt starts at 3.30pm) – all invited.
Donations in aid of Church Building Funds

Sunday 21st April, Easter Day Service 10.45am

Annual Dinner, The Link, 7.30pm – Thursday 2nd May
please contact Joan Hayes for menu options

All warmly welcome

Pancakes!

You’re invited to join us for freshly flipped pancakes this Shrove Tuesday, 5th March. Bring along friends and family, choose your favourite toppings and refreshments and enjoy! Donations in aid church maintenance. Drop in anytime between 6pm and 8pm.

The three main pancake ingredients, each with symbolical meanings:

– plain flour – for our daily bread

– eggs – for creation

– milk – for purity

combined and blended together to create a delicious treat.

This treat forms a wonderful reminder of the Holy Trinity and our personal relationship with the Trinity. The toppings we each eagerly choose to give full flavour to the treat and experience, all wrapped within the hot pancake. Whether traditional lemon and sugar, golden syrup, or ice cream and chocolate! We each have our own individual, personal tastes, and in the same way we have our own gifts, talents and passions. Which when aligned and combined with the Trinity achieves happiness and fulfilment.

So the humble pancake, whilst being delicious, is a wonderful metaphor and reminder of God’s presence within our lives, and the amazing goodness He has in store for us. Sometimes we need to flip things round to gain clarity, change direction and realign ourselves with God – this is all part of the preparation that Lent provides.

Pancakes are being served up in our church hall. We look forward to seeing you there!

Challenge

Lent will soon be upon us, where we are challenged to reflect on our lives; to give up something that’s holding us back, or to start to do something new. Some people choose to give up a certain food or treat, others choose to break a bad habit, or to form a new good habit for 40 days, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Morning. Six weeks of self discipline. Reflective of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness as He prepared himself to complete His mission. The final part of His gift and promise.

What challenge will you set yourself? What will tempt you to revert? Can you do something that will benefit your own wellbeing as well as those around you, or take on a challenge together so that you are accountable to each other? We sometimes struggle when we try to go it alone and do things in our own power, not only during Lent but throughout our lives. The great news is you don’t have to:

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16

What a gift and promise! You have a loving, mighty, powerful God. The Holy Trinity, watching over you, routing for you, wanting to help you, ready to listen to you. The gift has already been given and promised. And God doesn’t break His word.

Interestingly the word ‘lent’ is also the past tense of the word ‘lend’. The world was given Jesus for a brief period of time, approx 33 years, here on earth in physical, human form, as one of us. His task complete, defeating death once and for all through His crucifixion and resurrection 3 days later. (Note the power of 3). The period of Lent gives us a chance to reflect on what Jesus went through to save us and God’s unchanging love for us. A chance to focus on our individual purpose and calling, to give something up, let something go, or give something back.

Wishing you a blessed new year

For those who have been going through difficult times, remember that winter will soon turn into spring, spring to summer, summer to autumn in all its glorious colour. With each season bringing change, new starts, and provisions for our needs. Time to adjust, time to grow, time to rest, time to reap. Time to just be.

As a church, we joined in with the Christmas Tree Festival at West Moors URC during December. It was a beautiful sight seeing the many trees adorned with a variety of decorations, each depicting a different message or theme. The theme of our tree was ‘Me, my gift is me’. All too often we overlook what we can offer individually in our talents, gifts and skills. Whereas, who we are, what we’re good at, and all that we aspire to be,is the greatest gift we can give to Jesus.

It’s important to continue to grow our roots into the depths of Gods love.To reach for the heights of all we can be, to continue to shine that Christmas light throughout the year. To trust and to find strength in hope, no matter how slight a glimmer it may seem.

“And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it” 1 Corinthians 10:13b

Be a guiding light this Christmas

“For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’” Acts Ch13:47

A beacon to lead those who’ve strayed and lost their way. To shine a light of hope when darkness surrounds a fellow being, whether friend, family or foe. A light that brings forgiveness, like the stoking of embers that gently warm and thaw cold hands and cold hearts. Rest and bathe in its glow and warmth.

Restore the flickering candle flames. Protect them from the icy winds that blow, that cut straight through the cracks in the old door, disturbing peaceful sleep with its shrill howling and rattling. Stand firm in the faith, knowledge and trust in the Lord. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm Ch 119:105

Encourage the flame to burn brighter, to shine its light for all to see. To make a difference. To guide people home this Christmas, like that first Christmas star.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Time – shine brightly, and may it last
throughout the coming year!

A fragile kingdom

Although a time of wonderful thanksgiving, Harvest makes us aware of the
delicate make up and design of the kingdom, and our complete dependence on God. For the wind, sunshine, and rain to nurture, grow and provide food, materials and shelter. For the seasons. Providing for our basic human needs and so much more. Somewhere we belong. Somewhere we feel loved.

However, it doesn’t always feel like this; there are people starving, people who are lost, suffering, feel abandoned – so what’s going wrong? Many news stories are currently highlighting the imbalance and massive issues we’re creating with the amount of chemicals and plastic that is finding it’s way into the oceans, the kingdom’s life giving organ. This material is used within so many products; from packaging, office equipment, vehicles, through to clothing, accessories, cosmetics, medication, cleaning materials and more. Meeting the demand for instant results; food-on-the-go, lightweight, transformable properties, strength, ease of cleaning etc. Is this a sign of us as humans forging our own path?

Focusing on the amazing benefits we can achieve but forgetting to consider and limit the negative effects it might have on a wider scale? Are we taking all the amazing resources and goodness we’ve been given for granted? Have we forgotten God in ‘our plans’?

“Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5