2020

A prayer

A prayer

In his letter to members in our weekly eNewsletter, our minister included a prayer, having in mind all those who have lost loved ones unexpectedly, those who are in hospital, those recovering at home and those who are feeling anxious, lonely and afraid.

“Almighty and Eternal God, whose love and care is close to each one of us, especially in our time of need, we hold before you all who are desperately ill at this time, all in Intensive Care Units, all recovering on the wards, all at home having beaten the virus, but still sore and anxious. We pray for all those who are starting to feel ill and are desperately worried about what awaits them in the days ahead. In the name of Jesus, who brought healing to the sick and hope to the downhearted, we ask for your healing for all in need, for your patience, for your inner peace and your strength and encouragement, that they may be made well and returned to the love of their families.


Eternal God, we pray too for all those who have lost loved ones, who are facing the aching reality of deep grief and sorrow and who, at the moment, cannot honour their loved ones in the way they would wish. We pray that you will comfort them with the knowledge that their loved ones are in your eternal love and care; that you will bring them new hope and new possibilities and the determination just to carry on.

Eternal God, we pray for all those who are working day and night to nurse and to tend the sick. We give thanks for the skill and dedication of doctors, nurses, managers, cleaners, delivery drivers, engineers and designers, those in government and in positions of authority, all who are working so hard to develop and bring new ways of healing to those in greatest need. Please keep them safe when they are in harm’s way and strengthen and encourage them when they become tired and disillusioned.

Eternal God, above all, we pray that this current crisis will pass quickly and that a way can be found to beat it once and for all. We pray that you will watch over all our loved ones, wherever they are and that you will keep them safe and well. We pray that we may all be reunited in love and friendship very soon. We offer you our prayers, in the knowledge that it is impossible to pray earnestly and for nothing to happen. And to you, Eternal God, be all honour, glory and praise, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, Prayer
Minister’s letter

Minister’s letter

We will not be producing a printed newsletter for April, but we would like to share the Minister’s Letter which was written, in advance, for that April Newsletter.

 

18th March 2020

Dear Friends,

These are unprecedented times. You will know by now that we have needed to cancel all public worship and all activities in our Churches until the beginning of May. At that time we will review the decision in the light of current advice. As most of you will not be going into the Church, we have decided to halt the production of the newsletter for the time-being. Hence, this letter is being sent to you by email.

Please assume, unless you hear otherwise, that all services and all activities in the Church planned for the remainder of March and for April will not be held. Very sadly, this will include our Holy Week services and our Easter Celebration. We have also had to postpone our Young People’s Service, planned for this coming Sunday. However, this service can be shared with us at another time and we look forward to that very much indeed.

These are unprecedented times. Such crises bring out the best and the worst in people. Sadly, we only hear about the worst. However, the best is also being shared across the country, as people rally to support and help those in the greatest need. In our churches, we have strong networks of pastoral care and support. If you find yourself in need of supplies, in need of prescriptions to be collected or in need of a friendly chat, please do not hesitate to ask, either through your Pastoral Elder, through your Church Secretary or to me. In the current circumstances, loneliness is the most dangerous threat. Please don’t feel bashful about asking for help or support. In these times, it is vital that we rally to support each other. However, it is also vital that we observe good hygiene practices and stay safe. If you want to open your windows and play opera to your neighbours, then please do! My favourite is Traviata!!

One thought that comes to mind is that we follow one who reached out to those who were isolated and cut off from society to give them acceptance, inclusion and a loving touch. That showed huge courage and immense compassion. In the current circumstances it is a very difficult example to follow, but one that nonetheless gives us a huge challenge.

At the end of April we say farewell to our friends David and Trisha Legge. David has been a Minister in Nottingham for over 10 years, has been instrumental in helping us form the North and South Nottingham Areas, has been a colleague for me as a Pastoral Consultant for Nottinghamshire and has worked tirelessly to service the Synod Office’s IT needs. We shall miss them both in Nottingham, but wish them both a long and happy retirement.

I have no wish to make this letter overlong, but I would like to add a thought for the season. The current crisis is making us feel afraid and wary of each other. A recent book by Rowan Williams entitled ‘Meeting God in Paul’ focusses on some of the apostle Paul’s more challenging ideas. One of these is about the radical freedom that relating to God brings us. Rowan Williams writes: “Christian freedom is the liberty to let God do God-like things in you – to give life, to promise forgiveness and reconciliation, to communicate hope in word and action.” I cannot think of a better description of the lasting effects of the resurrection of Jesus than this.

God knows our every need and will level mountains into plains and rough places into smooth pathways, if we can only learn to ask and to trust. If we make a straight path for God into our hearts and souls, God will make a straight path for us. The truth of the resurrection that we celebrate at Easter is that God will always bring new life. No matter how hard something seems or how final some disappointment or ending appears to be, God will always bring new hope and new possibilities. We open our troubled eyes to look in trust and there will be God, standing beside us to strengthen us and going before us to show us the next step on our adventure through life. The great message of Easter Day is to ‘let go and let God’ and to bathe in the freedom that comes with the knowledge that we are loved and accepted.

Please note that I will be on holiday from Monday 13th April to Wednesday 22nd April inclusive. In the case of a pastoral emergency, please contact either one of the Secretarial Team or your own Pastoral Elder.

I wish you all a very happy Easter! Please take care and stay well.

God’s richest blessings,

Chris.

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, news

Lockdown

Brother Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Franciscan living in Ireland, has written a poem, Lockdown, reflecting on the impact of the coronavirus. He shared it in a Facebook post on Friday, 13th March. In less than a week, his original post received more than 23,000 positive reactions and was shared more than 39,000 times. A member suggested we should share this with you.

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

Richard Hendrick, March 13th 2020

This is a link to the original post:

facebook.com/BroRichard/posts/10158060660454328

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, news

Church closure

17th March 2020

The Minister and Secretarial Team have today (17.3.20) agreed that our church should follow advice from the URC and suspend all worship and activities until the end of April. This means no public worship in Church until the beginning of May (unless advice changes), cancelling all our Holy Week worship, cancelling meetings (including Lent Groups and choir practice), postponing our AGM and cancelling all other activities arranged in the building. Hall bookings have been cancelled. The Stroke Club will not meet and the Nottingham Child Contact Centre will not open.

It is with great sadness that this decision has been made, but the health of our members and halls users must be our first priority and is our greatest concern.

The church intends to provide ways in which we may continue to share worship. Following an experiment to stream our service last Sunday, we expect to be able to stream and/or podcast a simple act of worship in the coming weeks. Information about this will be shared on this website.

We wish to continue offering pastoral support to all members of the congregation. Any member of the congregation may contact their Elder if they, or someone they know, needs help, whether in regard to a pastoral need or a practical need – such as help with shopping. Any member of the Secretarial Team may be contacted if your Pastoral Elder is not available.

We continue to pray for those who are having health difficulties or who have responsibility for taking decisions in relation to this difficult situation.

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, news

Lent Study Groups

Our Lent Study Groups began meeting to discuss and reflect on the CCTBI course entitled Opening the Scriptures: Setting our hearts on fire. Groups were well attended but, due to the response to COVID-19, the groups have had to stop meeting.

Members who wish to join a tele-conferencing group, should contact Mark or Nicola.

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, House Groups
Light Night 2020

Light Night 2020

 

Our church was an Entertainment Hub for Nottingham’s Light Night on 7th February 2020.

During the evening there was a wide range of musical and other entertainment with family meals and refreshments available. Music sessions included a ukulele “come and strum” sing-a-long, a jazz band with students from NTU, a dance workshop with NTU’s Hop Hop and Dancehall Dance Society, the Redhill Academy vocal group, instrumental recitals, Ravenshead Swing Band, the Teremok Russian School dance group, Kuderushki (a Russian Folk Group), anthems sung by the Church Choir and a “come and sing” songs from Les Miserables with our church choir.

The evening was very well-supported throughout the evening, with the many visitors providing good audiences for each of our entertainment groups.

Thank you to all the performers and to everyone who helped to prepare and serve the wonderful refreshments – cakes, teas, coffees and meals throughout the evening. And none of this would be possible without everyone who worked so hard to prepare for the evening and all our hard-working stewards, some of who braved the cold February evening outside the church to direct visitors.

 

 

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, events, Outreach Activity, Students