& Castle Square URC
18th July 2021
We welcome all who join us for worship this morning, which is being live streamed from St David’s Uniting Church. Whether you are with us in person, or joining via the live stream link, or watching later on YouTube or reading the printed version, you are ALL welcome.
To join us please follow this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ftWuXHexnfFdo1FKwXBZA
This afternoon at 4pm, Phil will be leading the first in a trial of a new kind of Communion service which will sit alongside a more traditional, contemplative one on first Sundays. With the acknowledgement that Jesus was the ultimate storyteller, every 3rd Sunday for the next few months, you are invited to gather on zoom (link at the end of this newsletter) when we will have a time of sharing our stories before sharing Christ’s meal together. You are invited to sign in by 4pm and bring with you a story on the theme of celebration. it can be any sort of celebration, a funny tale or a serious one; a story with a twist or a simple recollection of joy. it doesn’t have to have a message or be a masterpiece – just be true to your experience, and if you would rather come and simply listen rather than share, that’s okay too. So join us at 4pm, as we share and celebrate!
With the recent announcement from the First Minister we can look forward to more people being able to meet together for worship. At the moment our Church is open for worship on the first and third Sunday every month.
You are welcome to join us, we are following the Welsh Government guidelines. no one will be at risk!
Church Family and Pastoral News
We include this in the news sheet to inform our prayers.
- We send our love and best wishes to Mair Healy, Graham and Janice and Marilyn Morgan and all the family, and hold them in prayer as they are coping with the sudden death of Mark , son, brother and cousin.
- We continue to pray for Millie who is still in hospital recovering from Sepsis, but hopes to be home soon.
- We remember those who are being cared for in their homes and for their families who care for them.
- Doreen is recovering at home following her cataract operation, which went well.
- We extend our condolences to Beti, who last week had to say goodbye to her dog Dixie. Dixie has been her companion for many years and will be greatly missed.
- We think of Chloe – the mother of Evie who was to be baptized this weekend – she has tested positive for COVID so the service has been postponed.
- We send good wishes to Rosie Gallagher and Gavin Clement, who are getting married at Castle Square today.
Claire’s son, Jack heard recently that he has been accepted as a Special Constable with the Metropolitan Police. He hopes that it will be a stepping stone to him eventually becoming a regular police officer. Claire is quite rightly excited for and proud of him.
from Sheila ‘Thank you to those who make it possible for me to receive the newsletter each week; I enjoy reading them and the service sheets, and appreciate all the work that must be involved.
from the Treasurer ….. to all the people who have so generously given donations towards the printing of the newsletter and service sheets ….it is much appreciated.
Birthdays this week
There are no birthdays that we are aware of this week!
Can you help?
When Millie is discharged from hospital, she will have to return, possibly daily, to have her dressings changed. Del (her Mum) could do it, but it would mean taking the boys with her! Not really an ideal situation! SO, if we could get a number of people willing to take her to these appointments it would be a great help to Del and much appreciated.
If you feel you can help, please contact Marcia, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, then when we can hopefully set up a rota.
Following the Government announcement this week, we intend to continue with our current schedule of services until the end of September, hopefully with relaxed conditions in the sanctuary. Thus, the service schedule will be:
10.45am Morning Service on Zoom – login from 10.30
10:45am Morning Service in the sanctuary (guest preacher);
4.00pm Contemplative Communion in the sanctuary
10:45am Morning Service on Zoom. – Some members will be picnicking
around the bandstand from 12:30pm.
10:45am Morning Service in the sanctuary;
4.00pm Zoom storytelling Communion. Theme is: holiday!
10:45am Morning Service on Zoom
10:45am Synod Sunday Service on zoom.
All services available on paper, on our website and on YouTube.
General Assembly ~ A reflection from Ben
Last weekend I attended (virtually) the General Assembly of the URC. Amongst the joys of zooms and committee procedures (Point of order – is a phrase I hope not to see again) we passed multiple worthwhile resolutions from aiming to making General Assembly recruitment anti-racist, challenging our practices that may contribute to modern day slavery, encouraging the church to be more digital both in terms of meetings and services, and to supporting the Palestinian economy. Along with more general policies around safeguarding and disciplinary processes. Definitely an interesting experience seeing how the wider church works.
In this week’s reflection after a brief resume on the General Assembly Phil reflected on one of the more exciting discussions, because it involved questions of Justice and Peace. ‘How we can become, and embrace being an anti-racist church’. There’s all sorts of ideas and nuances in that phrase anti -racist, and some of this we looked at last year in our sermon series and reflections on Black Lives Matter. Being anti-racist essentially means actively working against racism including invisible prejudice – systemic prejudice.
One of the resolutions we discussed was how to make sure we have better representation of black and minority ethnic individuals in prominent positions. It was an interesting discussion; it was complex at times and there were points of order – some of which got heated. but we got somewhere.
The following evening, I sat down to watch the England – Italy match – and we all know how that ended up! As I watched the England team miss those last three penalties I got a message from one of the St David’s Uniting elders saying just watch for the racist abuse that those players are going to receive now because they happen to be three black football players! Sadly that elder was right and we’ve seen some of the vitriol and hatred thrown at them, ostensibly because they missed the penalty but actually about how their ethnicity makes them different. which is completely anti what we believe as Christians, and is completely anti ethical to the gospel in which we are all created as beloved children of God.
A lot of the abuse they got was on social media, using words that were meant to hurt and harm – words which can demean and divide us. That was hugely disappointing though not unexpected. Which is why if you read or heard Marcus Rashford’s inspiring response, talking in a very vulnerable way about how he felt about his performance and how he was sorry for certain things but he wasn’t sorry for who he was as a black man.
All of this got me thinking of how we can be an anti-racist church. So I want us just to think about the words we use – the words which were meant to hurt and harm those three players and words of dignity and wisdom and beauty that Marcus wrote in return. As Martin Luther King said ‘Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend’
The power of words isn’t anything new – it’s written throughout the scriptures. In the Sermon on the Mount in the message version of Matthew Ch. 5– Jesus says ’you’re familiar with the command to the ancients do not murder, but I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder- carelessly call a brother idiot and you might find yourself hauled through the court – thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire, the simple moral fact is that words kill’ – Jesus was building upon transforming some of the old testament teaching in which we read similar things .
Proverbs contains a wealth of treasures on the power of words including this from Ch 18 v 21 ‘Words kill, words give life, they’re either poison or fruit you choose.’ I love that version from the Message.
We might want to try and pull apart systems of injustice we might want to speak up against those who perpetuate a world view where some are more worthy that others just because of where they’re born or the colour of their skin.
This is your invitation – to think of the words you’ve used, the words you’ve heard, the words you’ve shared. Think about how you’re using them for good or for ill. Perhaps you might want to think of the last compliment you were given and take some time to embrace those words and let them speak to you – or perhaps you might want to take time to write a card of encouragement to someone who you want to just say ‘thanks’ to.
You might want to just refrain from words of judgement. We all have people in our lives whom God puts there to test our patience, so maybe just commit yourself to not saying any negative words about that particular person or not to condemn anyone in your words,
Think about the words we use, how we use them to promote God’s kingdom of Justice and Joy or how we might use them otherwise
New regime for coal tip safety in Wales
The Law Commission is currently consulting on its provisional proposals for a new regime for coal tip safety in Wales. They are hosting a live public event on Tuesday 20 July from 5.30 to 7 pm to outline our proposals and to give participants an opportunity to put questions to the project team. There will also be an update on the work of the Welsh Government’s Coal Tip Safety programme.
A link to our consultation paper is set out here: Regulating Coal Tip Safety in Wales: A Consultation Paper.
A summary and quick visual guide are also available. The event will be held on Microsoft Teams.
A Thought for the Week
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose
ZOOM SERVICES: Log in opens at 10.30 for pre service chat. Services will start at 10.45 or as advertised. Zoom service link – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89461145366?pwd=S3ExNTVjdGVGdXlGVlNQc2k3eldudz09
To join by phone (call 0203 901 7895. then, when asked, type in the meeting ID – 894 6114 5366; followed – when asked – by the passcode – 8453605) Calls are charged at standard UK call rates.