Due to the road conditions in this snowy and cold weather the service on Sunday 3rd February is cancelled. The Minister and Secretary feel it would be better not to risk everyone’s safety and well-being.
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Murmurings from the Manse
I was on the way to the crematorium, chatting to the driver about the end of 2018 and we remarked how much quicker time seems to go by. He paused and said, “I wish I could get my children (grown up) to appreciate that fact and make the most of each day”.
Some people fill each and every day – some go for more of a ‘pick and mix’ approach and some will be content to do as little as possible. The diversity of humanity will never change that and I am not convinced it is anyone’s role to interfere anyway.
However, it seems that as one year draws to a close and a new one is ushered in there is a sense of renewed promise and enthusiasm, a blank canvas just waiting to be filled and we have the power to do that as we choose.
Jesus’ public ministry had periods where he took himself off but mostly it was a fairly punishing, relentless time, in exhorting his followers to do likewise we could be forgiven for thinking it is too hard to keep up, we need built in rest periods. Yet Jesus would be the first to tell us it is about balance, it is about doing some things and doing them well, instead of trying and failing to do everything!
2018 was a challenging year for our church and our pastorate, we have come through and now we look ahead in confidence and hope and trust to the year that is to come. As we do so let us pray that by our action we will make the most of what it offers and that in our own small way we can make a difference to the lives of others.
I wish you a happy and healthy 2019
On Sunday December 2nd we will be celebrating the start of Advent with a joint service at Malmesbury United Reformed Church. The Cafe service starts at 10.30am.
There will be no service at Royal Wootton Bassett.
I write this immediately after my Induction to Cricklade.
It was a great service with a fabulous sermon and it was lovely to have your support and that of Malmesbury.
The future now looks different, or does it?
Old links can be re-established and new ones forged. We are now a pastorate, a sustainable pastorate which has been an answer to prayer, it has also been a long hard road and I know it has left it’s mark.
Yet tonight, (Friday) was a cause for celebration and it is good to celebrate and God loves a celebration.
And we need more of them, we are all too quick to point out the things that go wrong, or are a negative in our lives, but we need to shout out the good, the positive, the answers to prayer.
This month we will celebrate Harvest, it has been a hard summer for farmers yet this is a time when we give thanks to God for all His creative power and provision in our lives.
So celebrate the good and let the bad fall where it will.
Trust in God and in His plan.
And never forget to give thanks.
Revd Sarah Simpson
Members will be joining other URC church people at Toothill Church
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