& Castle Square URC
15th July 2021
We welcome all who join us for worship today, whether you are joining us on zoom, later on YouTube or are reading the script. We trust you will be uplifted and find comfort and solace from the stresses of life.
We have coped with extreme heat this last week: but what were we doing last year? We were talking about returning to a new norm! As we know this was not to be. Many people have suffered. We haven’t seen our friends face to face for a long time.
Climate change and the pandemic has had a great impact on everyone. We are slowly returning to in-house services and hope to recommence some meetings. Big decisions with small steps! Some will be very cautious others can’t wait, we respect everyone’s decision. A warm welcome will always await you when you finally return.
Church Family, Pastoral and Global News
We include this in the news sheet to inform our prayers.
- We continue to hold Mair, Graham and Janice, and Marilyn Morgan in our prayers following the death of Mark. We send them our love and best wishes. We also hold his wife Elaine, who is the Guider of the Girl Guides who meet in the church, in our prayers.
- Please keep Peter and Audrey De Jong’s 5yr old grandson Micah in your prayers. He has recently had a 10-hour operation to remove a brain tumour and now has to treatment.
- Bernice received several visitors last weekend as it was her 92nd birthday, they included Jan and Lee-Suan, who Bernice recognised! We continue to keep Bernice and the family in our prayers.
- We are pleased to report that Millie is now at home, we keep her and the family in our prayers as they cope with all that life throws at them!
- Brenda Elias will be starting her short course of Chemo at the end of this week.
- Roger s been quite poorly with a chest infection which is now being treated and he is on the mend!
- Gill Miller has not been feeling too well recently, but is getting there slowly!
- Dianne has had her hip operation and is now home and exercising carefully! w ith Rachael looking after her.
- We think of Pauline Robbins who will be self-isolating to prior her hip operation on August 5th.
- There are people who are concerned for elderly family members who are in hospital.
- As we moan about the extreme weather in Wales, we pray for those living in America where extreme heat is a major concern, and for China where extreme rainfall has caused major flooding and the loss of many lives. Also, people in Central Europe as they stagger towards recovery following flash flooding.
We are delighted to learn that Alan had a phone call from his consultant with the news that the biopsy he recently had is clear. No treatment is needed, he will continue with his routine appointments
Robert is pleased that is young great niece Sophia is making good progress and an older niece has just been awarded a 2:1 degree in History from Cardiff and is hoping for a career in journalism.
Birthdays this week
Just one birthday that we are aware of this week – Nathan will be celebrating on Tuesday 27th July – Enjoy YOUR day!
Singing Group – A reminder!
The St. David’s Uniting singing group (a maximum of six singers) meet in the sanctuary this Wednesday at 7:00pm.
Following the Government announcement, we are continuing 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 in the sanctuary with Rev Malcolm Shapland
4.00pm Contemplative Communion in the sanctuary – Rev Dr Phil Wall
10:45am Morning Service on Zoom. – 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 morning services available on paper, on our website and on YouTube.
St. David’s Uniting Church is intending on having its AGM on site on 19th September. Provisions will be made for those who feel they cannot attend in person. In preparation for this, would all members please prayerfully consider who they would like to nominate for eldership – nomination forms have been sent by email..
The reflection is recorded on a Tuesday – the news caused Phil to completely change what he was going to say!
There were a couple of records – one of them was the World’s richest person – Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin – hoping to set the record on Wednesday for enabling the oldest & youngest astronaut to go into space, which is beautiful while you’re up there, YET while billionaires compete against one another for who can fly further and faster into space, on Tuesday a very different travelling record was broken. A Record 430 migrants crossed English Channel in single day. Many of whom were women and young children.
It’s a complex situation – when it comes to discussion about refugees and asylum seekers – here are a few statistics which might help our thinking.
- At the end of 2020 around 82.4 million people were forcibly displaced across the world.
- 42% of those many millions of displaced people across the world are children.
- 86% of the world’s refugees are living in countries neighbouring their country of origin, often in developing countries. SO the idea that millions are travelling to settle in developed countries to exploit opportunities and advantages there is simply NOT true.
- People seeking asylum are often living on Home Office support equivalent to £5.66 per day Most people seeking asylum are unable to work whilst their claim is being processed, this can take months or
So why do they come to the UK rather that Greece, France or Germany?
- The number one reason for coming to the UK is that they have family ties here. In fact, this covers at least 50% of cases. Family ties run deep, especially when you have lost everything else.
- Other factors are more practical, e.g, if you speak the language you have more chance of being able to find a job and you can navigate everyday tasks like understanding public transport or going shopping.
- It is also not an uncommon (and a heartening experience) to hear refugees, often those from Africa, talk with respect about how they see the UK as an icon of democracy, justice and freedom.
- Many of the asylum seekers, if they are granted asylum end up working in the NHS
A few stats to think about. They risk the lives of themselves and loved ones – It’s no pleasure cruise to get here!
So let’s see what the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel is suggesting. You may know Priti for her other achievements
- She was sacked as international development secretary when she lied about meetings with Israeli politicians and officials while supposedly on holiday in 2017
- Was found to breach the ministerial code following bullying allegations against the top civil servant for which the Government made a £340 000 out of court settlement
- Called Black Lives Matter protests ‘dreadful’…and yet she is trying to bring in a new bill which could put an end to peaceful protests…
She is now pushing the Nationality and Borders Bill, it’s quite controversial because it suggests the answer to the issue of asylum seekers is to imprison them!
So, if a young mother who has survived domestic violence, war, and a journey which has taken the lives of others – imprison them for up to 4 years. Treat them as a criminal.
This breaks the Refugee Convention which was signed in 1951. It was in the aftermath of the Second World War, that countries came together to ensure that there would be international protection for those who suffered persecution.
The United Nations Refugee Agency has said that the government’s plans breach commitments made in that convention, 70 years ago.
The United Nations aren’t a big fan of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. In 2019, its report warned of exactly this outcome: “A policy that focuses exclusively on closing borders will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands of criminal groups.” Priti Patel was a member of that committee when they found it would cost us up to £412 million a year.
In May 2021, more than 80 Church organisations including those that the URC, PCW and Baptist belong to, issued an Open Statement to the Home Secretary which said:
We believe these proposals lack humanity and respect for human dignity.
There are many lovely verses in the Bible which encourage us to take care of each other – Phil was not in a lovely cosy mood, he was in a righteous anger mood, so he shared a couple of more spicy ones
Deuteronomy 27:19 – Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”
Matthew 25 – the parable of the sheep and goats he gets to the end and the son of man says:
‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
So Jesus isn’t so hot on those who are in power and don’t look after those who are vulnerable.
Some say it’s dangerous to talk politics; perhaps that’s true!
Phil’s suggestion this week is – if we want to heed the teaching and example of Jesus, himself a refugee in Egypt, perhaps do one of the following…
- Take a moment to be thankful…Sharon shared this on the St David’s WhatsApp group– “If you have a family that loves you, food on your table and a roof over your head, you are richer than you think.”
- Read more about the Nationality and Borders Bill
We also want to equip local church leaders, congregations, and individuals to contribute to political influencing – through sharing stories, learning together about the Bill, and raising awareness of its consequences in our Christian communities. We hope we can build a network that will also work together to raise our concerns with the government through MPs and other actions.
- In this heat, buy a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and relax. This week, that in itself can be seen as an act for a more just and Jesus-centred world. Why you ask!
Ben & Jerry’s brand announced it would stop selling ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories.
A Thought for the Week
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
Anatole France (1844-1924)
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