At our service on 12th February, Joy Mattis (right) was ordained by our Minister as an Elder of the United Reformed Church, and inducted to serve at Royal Wootton Bassett. She was welcomed with the right hand of friendship by existing Elders, Elizabeth and Andrew.
Eldership – What is it?
For the United Reformed Church, the eldership of a local congregation is a significant ministry. The eldership as it has come to us over the centuries has importance within the Reformed tradition, having been significantly shaped by the reformer John Calvin. Eldership is a distinctive part of Reformed identity. In 1972 when the Congregational Church of England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England united to form the United Reformed Church it was agreed that elders would have responsibility for the spiritual and pastoral oversight of the local church, alongside Ministers of Word and Sacraments. The ‘elders meeting was conceived in the very real hope that it would become a distinctive and vital part of every congregation. Elected by the local church meeting, elders are people in whom others have recognised the spiritual gifts that can aid the leadership of the church. At its best the elders meeting is at the heart of every local congregation, regardless of size, offering the impetus and leadership required for mission, witness, and service. Elders have an essential part in enabling the congregation to live a healthy and fruitful life as God’s people
Reconciliation was the theme of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, it had plenty within it to encourage thought and debate, so much so that I am still thinking about it!
Reconciliation is one of those words which has many levels of understanding, the idea of reconciliation is even broader, but my thoughts, in the light of the event which took place in the middle of the week in America, turn to internal reconciliation within countries.
How can countries so definitely split come back together, be it over President Trump or Brexit or any other differences, and yet it can be done.
Remember the Truth and Reconciliation committee in South Africa, under the leadership of Desmond Tutu … the work they did, the words spoken in pain and sorrow, the tears and the apologies: remember the split caused by apartheid, so definite but not final, the work was harrowing for all involved but because the desire to be united was stronger than what kept the nation apart, there was success.
What do we need to be reconciled to, in our personal lives or in our communities, or politically? What keeps us from enjoying right relationships?
Whatever keeps us from another also keeps us from God, until we are reconciled to another, our relationship with God will not be all we know it can be.
Think about reconciliation.
Yours in Christ
To celebrate the new year, members of the church enjoyed a curry night at the Ganges restaurant, in Bassett. Minister, Sarah, is nearest camera.
09.01.17 Photo by Jack Fairgrieve
Rev Sarah Simpson presents Elizabeth Shaw with gift and cheque to show the Church’s appreciation.
Elizabeth Shaw with the Minister, Rev Sarah Simpson, receiving a presentation from the Church on the occasion of her retirement as Church Secretary. Elizabeth has served the church as Secretary since 1999, and continues to serve as an Elder.
Those who came to take part in our Carols by Candlelight service on Christmas Eve donated £86.42 towards the Swindon Harbour Project. Together with donations by our church congregation of £47.00 instead of sending cards to each other, we will send £133.42 to the Harbour for their work supporting asylum seekers and refugees.
At our Musical Coffee Morning on the Saturday before Christmas, £52.10 was raised for a Cancer Research by the sale of preserves, and jewellery and decorations by the Fairgrieve family.
Fed up with the negative headlines? You’re not alone!
At our discussion evening in November we are pleased to have Heather Redington from the Harbour project talking about the activities of the Harbour Project.
“We aid refugees and asylum seekers across Swindon.
We give friendship, advice and hope.
We are The Harbour Project.”
Find the Project’s website here
Thursday 17th November 7.30pm in the Church Hall
Please everyone come along and bring your friends.
A Musical Evening
FROM BACH TO FOLK
The United Reformed Church
Royal Wootton Bassett
VIBRATO STRING ENSEMBLE
Saturday 22nd October 2016
Suggested donation £5 Adults/£2 Children
Tickets available on the door
RWB URC Church Fund
RWB St. Bartholomew’s Primary Academy Playground
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