& Castle Square URC
14th March 2021
We welcome everyone who is reading our newsletter on this Mothering Sunday and possibly joining us on Zoom at
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89461145366?pwd=S3ExNTVjdGVGdXlGVlNQc2k3eldudz09 or YouTube later.
We have much to celebrate! We heard on Friday that people in residential care can now meet one designated visitor indoors. Four people from two households can meet in their gardens. Some outdoor sports can reopen. From Monday Hairdressers will reopen and more children can return to school. From 22nd March some non-essential retail will re-open. We will have weekly updates! There is more Good News in our Good Friday Worship article.
We continue our Lenten studies with Phil leading us. Today we looking at Exodus 16:1-5 & 11-18, these are some of the questions we will consider:
- What do we learn about God and about ourselves from this passage?
- Where do you hear good news in this passage?
- How might we live out the message from this passage in our prayers, words, and actions this week?
Church Family and Pastoral News
We include this in the news sheet to inform our prayers. Please pray for:
- John and Valerie as they wait for news of Valerie’s move to residential care.
- Pauline Robbins whose daughter in Australia is recovering well after heart surgery.
- Those who live alone and are housebound without family around, especially Sharon
- Hilary Grinter and Gill Miller have both had falls recently but thankfully they are recovering well.
- Dorothy, who is normally very active, has resorted to using a stick, we hope it’s not for long!
- Those who are unwell and unable to leave their homes, Bernice. David Marshman, Cyril, and John Davies
- Phil as he continues preparing for Holy week and Easter while caring for us all. He, like many others, has been unable to visit his family for many months.
- Those who have hospital appointments, optician’s visits, blood tests and various other procedures; such an exciting social life we lead these days. We give thanks that the NHS is able to deal with them.
- People who have had home improvements, including unplanned extra’s and others who have had unwelcome four-legged creatures n their homes
Jayne Bright is enjoying her new role in her job.
Tom has had one very long day back in college and is catching up on the practical work of his course. Rhiannon and her friends are delighted to be having two days in school before Easter!
Birthdays this week
Today Tomos Henson is 17, Penblwydd Hapus Tom! Other Birthdays that we know of this week are Denisa Zuica on Tuesday 16th and Edith Thomas on Saturday 20th. We send our good wishes and hope they have an enjoyable day.
Lent Book Group
We will be discussing chapters 7 & 8 of our Lent book ‘Falling Upward’ by Richard Rohr at 5-6pm this afternoon. All are welcome to join us on the usual Sunday morning zoom link.
Next Sunday’s passage to read and consider in advance is Exodus 20:1-19. The questions to think about are:
1) Inventory time! This week, which of the ten commandments do you find easier/harder to obey?
2) What role do you think the 10 commandments – or the following ones (see the next chapter!) – have in the lives of Christians today?
3) If you could add one Commandment to the traditional ten, what would it be?
And for those who like playing ‘spot the difference’, you might like to look up the version of the 10 commandments in Deuteronomy 5.
Exile or Exodus? The Church and the lost generations.
For this month’s Double Vision evening, tomorrow at 7:30 – 9pm, we will be reflecting on why many of our churches are devoid of the under-40s. Revd Sam Sheehan, a URC university chaplain and minister for young adults, and Ryan McMahon, an Anglican podcaster and theology student, will be heading up our discussions. Zoom details – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82229587377 or phone – 02034815240; Meeting ID: 822 2958 7377
Something to think about!
How about we don’t pressure ourselves to ‘be ready for the end of lockdown.’
To lose weight, to look great.
How about we acknowledge that we have been through hell and so yes, we look like hell too.
We have dark circles under our eyes from worry.
We have bad hair because we cannot get to a salon.
We have terrible clothes because we haven’t been anywhere in so long.
And you know what, that’s ok!
It won’t be long before life takes over and we get back in the groove but for now, let’s celebrate our battle scars.
This has been hard.
I, for one, will not care a jot whether you look great when I can see you and hug you.
I have missed my friends so much.
If you are fatter, so what.
So am I.
My roots can wait because the first thing I will be doing is visiting the people I love.
Let’s remove the pressure to be perfect and emerge from this experience looking perfect.
Let’s be honest.
We have struggled.
And that’s ok.
You will look amazing to me my friend.
I see what you’ve been through
Seen on Social Media and contributed by Jan Harris
Good Friday Worship
More details will come out next week about our treasury of holy week worship this year – almost all of which you will be able to engage with if you are not online – but for now, an invitation!
The desire to celebrate our new live-streaming technology on church premises; to offer something different for the last major Christian festival not to be celebrated physically together (we hope!); and to provide diverse, ever-fresh and engaging reflection on Good Friday, have all come together to inspire us to put on our own version of ‘The Service of the Hours’ (also known as ‘The Three Hours’ Devotion/Agony’). This service takes place in some churches between 12 and 3pm on Good Friday, marking the final three hours that Jesus was on the cross.
Essentially, we hope to live-stream a service between 12 and 3pm on Good Friday from Gelliwastad Road in which members and friends of both churches, and community leaders beyond, are encouraged to offer a Good Friday reflection from their point of view and through their God-given gifts.
NB DVDs can be provided for those not online and we will be strictly following Government and denominational guidance concerning participation at a service of worship. Instructions will be given to all possible contributors and please do consider your personal health risks before signing up.
Partly inspired by Anthony Gormley’s ‘One and Other’ empty plinth in Trafalgar Square, what we’re hoping for is a diverse range of reflections on the cross, the day, and all that it might bring up – from personal grief to anger at systems of oppression; from the divine mystery and prayers to lay at the feet of the cross to contemporary echoes of Jesus’ cry ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’. And we’re hoping that these might be shared through a variety of different media:
- Classic Easter hymns and contemporary music
- Traditional sermons and prayers
- All age talks and stories
- Bible reading and poetry recitals
- Art reflections and visual parables
- Silent offerings, dramatic readings and short talks on contemporary situations of injustice
These are just a few ideas to get you started!
Given the hours we have to use, there is time and space for diverse, contrasting, thought-provoking, even shocking contributions. Perhaps there’s always been a reflection you’ve wanted to offer on Good Friday. Perhaps you have a favourite Bible reading, poem, or painting on the cross that you’re willing to share with others. Perhaps you feel moved to reflect on what the cross means after the year that we’ve experienced. There is no right or wrong thing to offer. All contributions will be appreciated. God can talk through us all so please do give it prayerful consideration. (And after all, no one wants…or would watch…a 3 hour sermon just from Phil!). Equally, if you know of others beyond the church who might add to our reflections, please do let Phil know. It would be great if this wasn’t just by, and for, the in-crowd.
If there is something that comes to mind, please reply to Marcia by phone or email by Monday 22nd March and let her know the following:
Who is involved: (Please stick to individuals/households)
One sentence description of content:
Any time restrictions for your attendance (between 12 and 3pm on 2nd April):
Any copyright issues: [streaming live, this won’t be an issue but we might need to edit some things for the recording, given copyright law].
Feel free to offer more than one item. Ideally, all the contributions will be live but if you are willing take part and cannot or would rather not come to the church for any reason, please note that in your response and we’ll do our best to enable that to happen – sharing items on the screen. We obviously don’t want anyone who is prepared to participate to be excluded from doing so.
“…the church is both my greatest intellectual and moral problem and my most consoling home. She is both pathetic whore and frequent bride.” We continue our Lenten journey with words from Richard Rohr’s Lent Book – Falling Upward. Last Sunday, the book group spent some time thinking about what Richard was saying here. It’s quite a harsh quote, isn’t it but if we’re going to take offense, take it up with God because it’s God who calls Israel both wife and sex worker in the Hebrew Testament.
Maybe Richard is saying that church is both a sanctuary, a home, a family…but it’s also an institution, with all the flaws and irritations which all institutions possess. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who can relate to that. Who gets irritated and saddened and irate at the things that the Church does sometimes…but who is also comforted, amazed, inspired by who the Church is.
Of all the images of the Church we might think of – salt of the Earth, branches of the vine, body of Christ…I think the picture of a family best describes it for me. This week we’ve been reminded again of the.. complexities…that come with being in a family. And Jesus’ family were certainly not free of differences of opinion!
So my question for you today is…if the Church – either the global Church or your local one could be likened to a family, what family might that be?
President Bush Senior famously said that he wanted American families to be more like the Waltons and less like The Simpsons…but what about the Church…are we all ‘goodnight Mary-Ellen, goodnight John-Boy’ or more ‘eat my shorts’ and ‘d’oh’.
If you were to liken the church to a fictional family, who might that be..
- Incredibles…each got our superpowers…
- Pevensies…went through the wardrobe, ate Turkish delight and enjoyed adventures with Aslan.
- Hoovers from ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. Family…dysfunctional. Stressed mother and bankrupt father, son who loves Nietche and refuses to speak & a daughter who’s obsessed with beauty pageants; a gay uncle with poor mental health and an addict grandad with a heart of gold. They’re a family who have their differences but who, by journeying together in a clapped-out old camper van, learn to accept each, love each other deeply, and, when they get to their final destination, dance with one another in wild abandonment.
Which fictional family do you think the church is most like? You can share your answers in the usual ways…
For Mothering Sunday, a few words from a fictional mother, who had something to say about family…
Mrs Doubtfire told us – There are all sorts of different families. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. And some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. And some live in separate homes, in separate neighborhoods, in different areas of the country – and they may not see each other for days, or weeks, months… even years at a time. But if there’s love, dear… those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your heart, forever.
A Thought for the Week
Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet. Anon
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