& Castle Square URC
Minister: Rev. Dr Phil Wall
Tel: 01443 300345 Mob: 07855090360
Admin email: firstname.lastname@example.org
9th January 2022
Welcome to the first newsletter of 2022 – and A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!
We’ve had a break and now we look forward to bringing you the news each week…..if YOU have anything to share please contact us at the Admin email or through your Elders.
Our zoom service today will look a little different because, in a year in which we mark the 50th anniversary of the United Reformed Church, we have invited some special guests to come and share their views on the church of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
We are thrilled to welcome Reuben Watt – Youth Assembly Moderator and Jo Harris – Moderator-Elect – to shine some light on the topic. Croeso i bawb!
If you think that means you’ve got a week off a sermon from Phil – you can think again! – as attached is a report for all to read and reflect on before next week’s anniversary service.
This afternoon at 2.30 in the comfort of their homes Castle Square folk will gather for the first Conference call of 2022.
With Phil now back in circulation he will be leading our Epiphany Communion at 4pm.
Our ‘poems and pies’ epiphany evening of the past will take on a different form as members are invited to bring along a favourite poem, prayer, or reading to share at this afternoon’s Communion.
Church Family and Pastoral News
We include this in the news sheet to inform our prayers. Please pray for:
- John Davies who has a chest infection, we keep him and Jean in our thoughts.
- Loreen is currently in hospital having fallen at home. We hope she will be home soon.
- Gill Miller who is still in hospital, we know she is in good hands and pray that all will be well.
- Vena has been unwell with a bronchitis like illness for quite a few days but is a bit better.
- Colleen has a problem with her back again and is hoping her physiotherapist will be able to help her.
- People who are concerned for relations who are coping with dementia
- Phil as he settles back into work, and struggles to accept the advice not to rush back!
- Brian, who has finally had the day surgery he has been waiting for.
- We are aware that several people have been affected by Covid, we hope they have now recovered.
- We give thanks that many people who were unwell before Christmas have recovered and many were able to spend Christmas and/or the New year with Family and friends.
James, Colleen’s son, thanks everyone who kindly donated to his fundraising for Alzheimer’s and Age UK. He raised just over £1200 in memory of his grandmother.
I’d like to say a huge thanks to those who sent cards, presents, and greetings to me before Christmas and to all those who sent messages, those who decided not to send messages, those who dropped off food, or offered to help in other ways during my time off sick with Covid. I was really touched by everyone’s thoughtfulness, shown in a myriad of ways (including a card which said ‘Doctors say you’ll be back to your old self in no time…other than that, you should be absolutely fine!’). Whilst, like many, I didn’t get to see my family again this Christmas, I had the church family around me and that gave me – and my birth family – a real boost. Diolch yn fawr!
Now, as is perhaps fitting in a month in which we celebrate the week of prayer for Christian unity, January brings with it a lot of wider church work for me to fulfil, including worship preparation for the national URC Youth Assembly, Church Life Review Group & Llanfair Sponsoring Body meetings, interim moderator work with the Valleys pastorate, and the planning of a conference with the Communion of Protestant Churches in Europe. So I will try to heed the often-shared advice not to rush back into work too quickly with a plea for understanding if I am not as available as I would otherwise wish to be. With huge thanks Phil
There are no birthdays this week that we are aware of, but there are anniversaries of a different kind which some will remember.
Greetings from home and abroad
Christmas Greetings: We have received cards to the Minister, Elders and friends at St David’s with various comments including Wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and looking forward to being able to meet and hug in a more ‘normal’ environment in 2022. Cards were received from Barbara Slade, Viviane, Pam, Coleen &Kev, John Attwood, Beti, Marlene McCloy, Mary Robins, Anne Coles, Gwenllian, George and Lynda, Kath and Dave and Sally Ball. We are sure there are others which Phil has seen but unfortunately didn’t get pinned to the notice board. No doubt they will surface at some time!
From DISPLACED PEOPLE IN ACTION
Thanking us for our support in the year 2021.
‘…. your donations have enabled us to continue and improve our work. More importantly, it gives us the option to step in and help refugees and asylum seekers to access support where they might otherwise struggle to find it. The kinds of requests that we have continued to receive this year include bus fares to get to health appointments, credit for mobile phones, and books for educational needs. Without you, we would find it incredibly difficult to say yes to everyone.
Thank you again. May you have a peaceful Winter holiday and a fantastic new year.’ DPIA
New Year Greetings: The Canadian contingent of the St David’s Uniting Church family have sent their greetings for the New Year. Dan, Janet, Colleen and Katherine send their love whilst Peter & Audrey Dejong – send good news about Micah – their grandson’s – health along with ‘warmest hugs – We miss you all, terribly!’
Christmas/Annual Appeals Update
St David’s Christmas Appeal
Our charities this for were NSPCC, who support Childline, and Money for Madagascar. Cheques made out to St David’s Uniting Church can be sent to Lynda or brought to church, please indicate if you wish to gift aid your donation. The latest figure is £325.
At services is St David’s over the Christmas season our offertory is always given to Christian Aid: With the crisis in Afghanistan the need is urgent. To date £210 has been paid in to the church account for this appeal. Cheques can be sent to Lynda or cash can be put in the offertory boxes in church. Some have donated online: – the link is https://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/emergencies/afghanistan-crisis-appeal
If you would still like to donate to either of the above appeals cheques made payable to St David’s Uniting Church with a note saying which charity you wish to support and whether you wish to gift aid, can be sent to Lynda or posted to the church.
The money from the Leprosy Mission boxes plus cheques totalled £460, which was a little more than last year!
Thank you to all who donated.
While on the subject of money and donations, a message from the finance team for those who use offertory envelopes – If you haven’t received your envelopes for 2022 please contact Lynda or Anne Coles!
St. David’s Uniting Church Anniversary Service and Rescheduled Church Meeting
Next Sunday is the anniversary service of St. David’s Uniting Church which will include a short service of Communion and was due to be followed by a church meeting. However, the elders have taken inspiration from Revd Richard Coles who once stated that “Ecstasy was once the most intense pleasure. Then Wagner. Then Poulet de Bresse. Now it’s a cancelled church meeting.”
Given recent low attendance, increased anxiety about Omicron and pervasive self-isolating, rather than planning for a meeting that might not be quorate, or might lead to church members either feeling pressured to attend or feeling like they couldn’t, Phil and the elders have decided to reschedule the church meeting until March 27th, when we should be in a far more even place. This decision would not have to stop any progress in significant decision-making as the next step in our exploration of the future of St. David’s Uniting Church will be to involve all members in a one-service dialogue in February about our future. Thanks for your understanding on this.
Castle Square News
Due to the recent COVID guidelines and concerns on social distancing within our buildings, the difficult decision has been taken to cancel the planned services for 16th of January. We want everyone to be safe and we look forward to meeting together again, hopefully in February.
Children quote the bible:
(with no corrections!)
When the three wise guys from the east side arrived they found Jesus in the manager.
Some dates to look forward to!
In a dark and, often, dismal month as January can be, it can be good to get some things in the diary to look forward to. Here are some to get us started:
- March 5th – 10:30am – Gelliwastad Road.Come and celebrate those in our community who ‘do the little things’ to make the world a kinder, more loving place as we give out our Community Saints Awards!
- May 18th– 7:30pm. One of the Guardian’s ‘plays to book in 2022’, Brad Birch’s bold new reimagining of An Enemy of the People – which pitsthe personal against the political and facts against emotion – is coming to the Sherman Theatre in May. Tickets cost £20 for adults, £18 for concessions. If you’d like to go, please let Phil know by 19th January.
- June 25th– Save the date for the URC Big Day Out on Saturday 25 June at the Royal Welsh Showground – a day of worship, conversations, craft and activities. Westminster College Cambridge will be helping us to explore ‘Being Church in the New Landscape.
- October 1st– On the afternoon of Saturday 1 October 2022, in Methodist Central Hall Westminster, London, where the Uniting Assembly of the URC took place in October 1972, a chance to give thanks and to celebrate the five decades of the United Reformed Church. Several venues, including United Reformed Church House, local URCs and buildings of ecumenical partners, will be available for people to visit during the day, to offer activities, information, workshops, reflection, discussions, singing, catering and other support for visitors before the service. Tickets are free and can be accessed here or by speaking with Phil – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/50th-anniversary-service-of-thanksgiving-and-celebration-free-event-tickets-163843796205
A blessing for the new year:
As you enter this new year, as you pack away the Christmas decorations and get out your stretchy pants
as you face the onslaught of false promises offered you through new disciplines and elimination diets
as you grasp for control of yourself and your life and this chaotic world
May you remember that there is no resolution that, if kept, will make you more worthy of love.
There is no resolution that, if kept, will make life less uncertain and allow you to control a pandemic and your children and the way other people act.
So this year,
May you just skip the part where you resolve to be better do better and look better this time.
May you give yourself the gift of really, really low expectations.
May you expect so little of yourself that you can be super proud of the smallest of accomplishments.
May you expect so little of the people in your life that you actually notice and cherish every small lovely thing about them.
May you expect so little of the supply chain and the service industry that you notice more of what you do get and less of what you don’t and then just tip really well anyhow.
May you expect to get so little out of 2022 that you can celebrate every single thing it offers you, however small.
Because you deserve joy and not disappointment
So, I wish you a Happy as possible New Year.
By Nadia Bolz-Weber
A Thought for the 2022
“Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life,
you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.”
H Jackson Brown