& Castle Square URC
Minister: Rev. Dr Phil Wall
Tel: 01443 300345 Mob: 07855090360
Admin email: firstname.lastname@example.org
28th February 2021
We welcome you all to worship today, whether you join us live on zoom, or as you catch up with the news and read the reflection and prayers at 10.45. or if you watch the recording on YouTube later. We hope the service will help you as we journey through Lent.
With a couple of tweaks, we continue our 6-part Lenten reflection on the book of Exodus. This week’s passage is Exodus 3:1-14. Those phoning in are reminded to press *6 to take themselves off mute!
It’s St David’s Day tomorrow! Will you be wearing a daffodil or a leek, or maybe your welsh outfit? We won’t be able to celebrate in our usual way, so why not make contact with someone who lives alone or someone you haven’t spoken to for a while and say ‘Dydd Gwyl Ddewi Hapus?‘
Church Family and Pastoral News
We include this in the news sheet to inform our prayers.
- Cerys finally came home from hospital on Friday afternoon, we pray that her recovery will continue without any hiccups! She will be well looked after at home.
- We hold the Sue Salmon, and her family in our prayers as she has been transferred to a nursing home.
- We think of all who are housebound, some because of the Pandemic, especially, Bernice, Cyril, Vena, Jean & John, Hilary Grinter, Sue Skym, Elwyn, David & Doreen, Marion, Hilary Goodfellow, and Val Stone.
- We hold Simon in our prayers as he prepares to lead the Synod meeting on Saturday and as he continues to provide guidance to the ministers and URC churches in Wales in these difficult times.
We are pleased to hear that Sheila has been able to spend time with her son for the first time since he was admitted to hospital with Covid in December. He is gaining in strength daily.
Dorothy is delighted to share the news that she is to be a Great Grandmother again!
Many people have received news that their 2nd COVID vaccination has been brought forward by 5 weeks to early March. We give thanks for all those who are working so hard to provide this service.
Sheila would like to thank those who deliver the weekend papers to her, she looks forward to them. She’s also looking forward to seeing us all again, hopefully in the not too distant future.
Birthdays this week
Janet Butler, Today/Tomorrow? 29th February, Pam Mahoney Monday 1st, Stephen Wednesday 3rd, Loreen Davies Friday 5th and Jo Poole Saturday 6th. We wish you a happy Lockdown Birthday.
Some thoughts for Lent
“By doubting we come to enquire, and by enquiring we reach the truth” – Peter Abelard
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in the same room as a mosquito” – Dalai Lama
Ray is leading our service next week and sends the following message:
Next week’s passage to read, pray and think about: Exodus 14 (the whole chapter). This is a long passage, but I hope you find time to read it – it’s an exciting story! If you are a curious person, you may even be inclined to look carefully at it and notice how it seems to be a mixture of two slightly different stories.
There are only two questions I want you to think about, and they are both very difficult!
- What does this story tell us about God?
- As Christians we believe the Good News of Jesus is the heart of the Bible’s message. Where do you see it in this story?
Lent Book Group
Discussion of the ideas contained in chapters 3 & 4 of Richard Rohr’s ‘Falling Upward’ will take place at 5-6pm today on the Sunday morning zoom link. All are welcome – whether you’re read the book or not!
This week’s passage to read, pray and think about: Exodus 3:1-14. Please give the following questions some thought:
- What is going on in the passage?
- Have you ever had an experience of God that transcends explanation? If so, what did that experience teach you?
- Where are you seeing God’s presence/hearing God’s voice this week?
Because there are no Lent Lunches, we are encouraged you to enjoy a lunch of soup and bread on Fridays in Lent; and to donate money to Christian Aid or you may wish to donate the money to the Pontypridd Food bank. Cheques, payable to Pontypridd Foodbank can be sent to 28 Llantrisant Road, Graig, PontypriddCF37 1LW
A road map for the wilderness?!
Well, whilst it must be said that it is for England and contingent upon a number of factors, Monday’s announcement and the later confirmation that all adults in Wales should be offered a vaccination by the end of July has given a number of us a boost. For some of us, thoughts inevitably turn to the return to physically gathered services. These are on the horizon but there are still many factors to consider – not least what restrictions within services will still need to be in place – and we will do all this with the helpful guidance of our respective denominations. It may well be that, like many other things at the moment, we will have a phased return to worship in church buildings so to monitor needs, get used to any restrictions, maintain an online presence etc. Be assured, the elders will pray and think deeply about this…and you might want to pray for them as they do!
Next Week: Celtic Communion
With a nod to Monday’s celebrations, our monthly Communion will have a Celtic feel next Sunday at 6pm. Those hoping to attend on zoom are invited to bring along any readings, poems, reflections relating to St David or our general Welsh Christian heritage. Those not online can still take part by ‘phoning in or asking their kind courier for a copy of the Communion liturgy if wanted.
URC Synod online
Next Saturday, the URC Synod of Wales will be meeting online. All are welcome to attend so let Phil know if you’d like to. Papers can be accessed here – https://www.urcwales.org.uk/synod-minutes-papers/ .
Something to make you smile
Wife: I have a bag full of used clothing I’d like to donate.
Husband: Why not throw it in the trash? That’s easier.
Wife: But there are poor starving people who can really use all these clothes.
Husband: Honey, anyone who fits into your clothing is NOT starving.
Husband is recovering from a head injury now!
One of the highlights of Phil’s week is the Castle Sq conference call when between 8-15 gather to share what’s going on in their lives, and even in these times there is always news to share plus the occasional joke! Watch out Joe Lycett, Ann Edwards is on your tail!! And what TV programmes have to offer, they are a mirror of humanity, the best and worst of us is on TV. One of Phil’s favourite shows is Wandavision. (On Disney+ channel) Phil says ~
It’s genius tv…though it’s not for everyone. It’s a genre-busting twisted drama that weaves together American sitcoms from the 1950s to the present day with a dark story about superheroes and witches,
At the core is a reflection on loss. Wanda Maximoff, has endured great childhood trauma, then her husband suffers and dies, to escape the world of pain and grief she creates this alternative world, where everything is always perfect; If there’s a threat to this world which she controls, she just gets rid of it. It is heartbreaking but oh so relatable. We all know people for whom the hardships of this life just prove to be just too much to handle,…so we protect ourselves from ever being hurt again.
Sometimes churches portray being a Christian as leaving the world of sin and sadness and joining instead a non-stop love-fest where smiles are fixed, worship is like a party and everyone is happy… …and any notion of conflict or doubt, pain or loss is wiped away by the benevolent dictators of that particular world.
It’s a quite a nice world to visit, as Wanda’s would probably be, but it’s not real or lasting. why would God have let Wanda’s husband – or our loved ones die; why doesn’t God simply wipe away conflict and Covid, pain and loss like a benevolent dictator. How you would answer that? Richard Rohr suggests, ‘the only consistent pattern I can find is that all the books of the Bible seem to agree that somehow God is with us and we are not alone. Faith is simply to trust the real, and to trust that God is found within it.’
This week, then, I invite us all to spend a moment considering that outlook. The one that tells us to trust the real and look for God in it. That says God is with us and we are not alone. We are not alone in our partying or weeping; our thriving or just about surviving; we are not alone in our living, our dying or rising.
Perhaps you want to thank God for that, or share with God your anger and frustrations. They are real and God can take them. Or you might want to contact someone who needs to know they’re not alone.
Remember – you are loved, you are wanted, you are never alone.
A Thought for the Week
The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.
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.