& Castle Square URC
27th February 2022
This evening light a candle for the people of Ukraine. Let’s show solidarity with them.
Today, Phil leads us in the second of three ‘appreciative inquiry’ discussion services helping us to look at the future shape of our church life. If you attended the first one on zoom, why not use this Sunday morning to worship elsewhere/online; catch up with friends; enjoy a walk in God’s beautiful creation…
Unfortunately, coffee will NOT be served following the service as we didn’t have any response to our appeal for a volunteer.
This evening at 6pm on zoom, we have our Storytelling Communion, in tune with LGBTQ + history month (see today’s written sermon), the theme for this month’s storytelling service is ‘Welcome’ so do feel…erm…welcome to bring along a story, anecdote, poem about welcome…or perhaps just a welcoming ear. Link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89461145366?pwd=S3ExNTVjdGVGdXlGVlNQc2k3eldudz09
To get us in the mood, John Henson shares with us this poem:
Easy to say, “Welcome stranger!”
Foolish if no sense of danger.
Newcomer may be dark or fair,
yet something hidden will be there.
But suspicion contests congress,
which the stranger may assess.
Jesus always saw within.
We do not know where to begin.
Shy or cheery they may be,
so, what is lurking inwardly?
Practice helps, or so I’m told.
I’m still not certain, though I’m old.
I am under no illusion,
never come to quick conclusion.
Anxious frown or eager smiles.
Genuine, or subtle wiles?
This is where our God comes in,
slow to judge or look for sin.
If you want the best to find,
just be open, warm and kind.
Though it may take months or years
before you can allay your fears.
But since it was to YOU they came,
you should help them all the same.
Church Family and Pastoral News
We include this in the news sheet to inform our prayers.
- Jan was able to speak Martha who is still in hospital; she is a bit better after some blood transfusions but not out of the woods yet.
- We think of Loreen who may not be able to see her family on her birthday as she is still in RGH.
- Hilary Grinter is suffering from the effects of arthritis.
- Kath is due to have an operation on Monday. We pray that all will be well.
- We think about Annette and Terry as their dog Lola is quite ill, they are awaiting news from the vet.
- Brenda Elias has had good news following her recent check-up, but now has a problem with one eye.
Birthdays: There are 5 birthdays that we are aware of this week; Janet Butler was born on Feb 29th, so will be celebrating on 28th, it is a special one this year! Enjoy your day Janet! Barbara Slade and Pam Mahoney are both St David’s day babes, Stephen Webber on Thursday 3rd and Loreen on Saturday 5th. We hope they will all be able to celebrate with family.
Good News: Barbara was delighted to receive an unexpected visit from several members of her family including her great granddaughter Iris, who she met for the first time. Iris is just over 4 weeks old!
10.45 at St David’s – Our morning worship will be led by Rev Malcolm Shapland.
11.00 at Castle Sq – Phil will be leading the final ‘appreciative inquiry’ discussion service.
Dates for your Diary
Monday 28 February at 10.30am Craft and Chat at Castle Square.
Wednesday 2 March at 2.00pm St David’s Church Guild
Join us for a Welsh cake, a catch-up and a chat about what the next few months have got in store for the guild. Old stalwarts and interested parties of all genders, very welcome.
With St David’s Day and Shrove Tuesday this week we know that we are approaching the season of Lent.
Colleen is busy making cards. Large cards are £2, small cards £1.50. Cards can be personalized. Orders are now being taken for Mothering Sunday and Easter. All proceeds go to church funds.
In the hope that it will enable me to fit into my blue suit once again, I’m giving up all puddings, desserts, and cakes for Lent! My less shallow Lent practice will be to pause at 8am and 8pm each day during Lent – just for a minute – to still my mind for 30 seconds before praying this St. Francis-based prayer:
Living God, thank you for the gift of this moment. Please help me be aware of my grounding in you.
In this time of great uncertainty, as our churches face difficult discussions and decisions,
please make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon. Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth. Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that one receives, it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned, it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life. Amen.
Please consider joining with me in doing this. Other options for Lent include attending our four Lent discussion groups on ‘faith & finances’ (speak with Phil or your elder about these) or using one of the many online devotionals, such as:
- Follow an ecumenical journey as Churches Together in Britain and Ireland retell the story of Welsh St Winifred/Gwenffrew, whose story has many touchpoints with our modern world – sexual harassment and coercion, misuse of power, the place of faith and the right to follow Jesus, and the contemporary need for healing and hope –https://ctbi.org.uk/lent-study-2022/
- For the first time Embrace the Middle East are offering free Lent Reflections, based on their Lent Study Guide, ‘Days to Lament’. Across the weeks of Lent we will recover the essential place of lament in worship at a time of widespread change and disorientation – both here and in the Middle East –https://embraceme.org/lent-reflections
- Walking humbly with God. In partnership with Ecocongregation Scotland, the Quakers, Young Christian Climate Network, the Church of Scotland and Operation Noah, Christian Aid will work out what it looks like to walk humbly with our God as we continue giving, acting and praying for climate justice. Starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday, a weekly podcast (with transcript) will be available for streaming or download, along with questions for reflection. https://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/key-appeals/lent-easter-appeal
We are aware that all these Lent study suggestions are online – which has now become the norm for most Christian organizations. If anyone not online would like to participate in Lent reflections, they can sign up for Embrace the Middle East’s ‘Days of Lament’ reflections – a physical copy of which can be ordered for £2 each. Sign-up sheet at the back of the church, or contact Marcia
Community Saints Awards
After months of build-up, hard work, and nominations from our congregations, the inaugural Community Saints Awards will be celebrated at St. David’s Uniting Church, Gelliwastad Road,
Saturday – 5th March- 10:30am – 12noon.
GTFM will be broadcasting live from the church as other local media, politicians, businesses, and community leaders help us thank those within our wider community who follow St David’s call to ‘be joyful, keep the faith and do the little things’.
All are welcome to join us for this uplifting event – whether in person or via the live-stream
A prayer station inviting us to be challenged by the example of our patron saint will remain in the church throughout March.
Huge thanks to the Community Saints steering group (Pam Mahoney, James Stewart, Sue Walkling, Catherine Naamani & Phil), alongside Bethan Walkling, who have spent a great deal of time preparing it.
Members of both churches are very welcome to join us for this event. It would help our planning if you could sign-up on the sheet at St David’s or contact Pam Mahoney or Catherine Naamani.
Thought for the week
One of the secrets in life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. Jack Penn