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We’ll meet again – Ukuleles

We’ll meet again – Ukuleles

By popular request…
The Ukuleles of St. Andrew’s with Castle Gate United Reformed Church, Nottingham
share their video of “We’ll meet again”

This rendition and the video was made under self-isolating conditions in May 2020 during the week of the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

 

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, Current, events, news
From the front line…

From the front line…

Our member, Maggie B, works in the NHS. She contributed the following article for our weekly “eNewsletter” shared on 9th April 2020 and gave permission for it to be shared on the website.

She writes:

[I have been asked] to say a few words about my experience of the current situation, in the belief that my experience is more interesting! This is not a word I’d use to describe the situation, not least because every time I hear it I think of the phrase “may you live in interesting times” – the provenance of which I’ll leave to you to decide!
 Over my past few shifts, I have been variously: scared; tired; fed up; horrified; joyous; bemused; uncomfortable. To be honest, we have been quite lucky at work as we are one of the so-called ‘clean’ wards – we still admit patients of our own speciality (and some others too) and if any of our patients develop Covid-19 they are moved to one of the respiratory wards. The hospital is unrecognisable, purely because everything we did know has changed and most specialty wards have now become respiratory wards. We have new ways of working, and every time I walk into work something else has changed. But we still go back to our fundamentals – each patient is here for a reason, and we need to make sure that they are safe, pain-free, comfortable and well-looked-after whilst they are with us, even if we do have to wear facemasks and end up repeating ourselves frequently.
 We still manage to laugh, not only with the patients but with the staff too, but unfortunately our jokes are not suitable to be repeated. (I’m not sure which is worse – NHS humour or military humour. Answers on a postcard please!) We are also aware how fortunate we are – we may be having to go to work, and potentially risk our health, but we are also able to see and be with other people, and our opportunity for actual social interaction is immense. We do practice social distancing as much as we are able, and we do remind others when necessary, but it’s quite tricky to help a patient mobilise to the bathroom if you are 2 metres away from them.
 If you were to ask me what you could do to help, then I would say you are already doing it. Stay at home, go out as infrequently as possible and stay as far away from others when you do. I may sound like a broken record, but this is a nasty disease and the consequences are horrible, and too often heart-breaking.
 Take care,

Maggie

Posted by gdjjennings in 2020, Current, news
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, Current, 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

Upendo Junior School

For a number of years, our church, Junior Church and individual members have given support to Upendo Junior School in the town of Kiminini, Kenya. This school was founded by Dr. Masibo Lumala to provide education for children in need.

In September, the church pleased to welcome Masibo, with his colleagues Stella Chebii and Hardlyne Lusui. Masibo spoke during worship to thank the church for our support and tell us more about the school.

Masibo Lumala, Stella Chebii and Hardlyne Lusui

The classrooms that we helped fund are now in full use and the school is working to improve security and sanitation for its pupils. We were glad to make a further gift to contribute to this.

Following their return to Kenya, Masibo has written:

Greetings from a warm and sunny Kiminini.

I wish to that this opportunity to first thank you and your minister Chris for hosting us at your lovely church on 1st September. It was wonderful talking to your congregation and having a chit chat with you over coffee after the service.

Second, please convey my deep gratitude to the church and the elders for their generous gift to Upendo Junior School. The money will go a long way in enabling me to complete the toilets for the children. May God bless everyone who has continued to give to us and to ray for our work here.

Masibo

Posted by gdjjennings in 2019, Junior Church, news, World Church, Worship, Youth Group

Special Anniversary

Rev’d Chris and Mrs Ally Ford

Our minister, Rev’d Chris Ford celebrated 35 years in the ordained ministry, serving congregations in the Untied Reformed Church since 1984.

Thank you Chris and, of course, Ally.

Posted by gdjjennings in 2019, news

New Elders

Following a congregation-wide consultation and election at Church Meeting, we were delighted to ordain four new Pastoral Elders at our service of Holy Communion on Sunday 3rd February. They were inducted together with another Elder who is returning to the Pastoral Eldership. We are grateful to them all for being willing to serve our congregation in this way.

Posted by gdjjennings in 2019, news

New structures

After a lengthy process of consultation and planning, our church has adopted a new governance structure.
Members of the new Elder’s Council have taken over from the Managers as the Charity Trustees of the church and this group will be supported in its work by a number of Sub Groups including the Pastoral Sub Group, the Worship and Christian Education Sub Group and the Finance and Buildings Sub Group.

The members of the Elders’ Council and those continuing to serve as Pastoral Elders were recognised during worship on Sunday 13th January and special thanks were expressed to those who were retiring from the Eldership at this time. Thanks were also expressed to the members of the Management Committee who had served as trustees for a number of years.


Posted by gdjjennings in 2019, news, Worship

Junior Church link with Upendo

Much of the money raised by the Junior Church (mainly through sales at coffee time) is donated to support work at Upendo Junior School in Kenya, helping to change the lives of over 120 children, many of them orphans.

The new buildings that we helped to fund are now in use. Upendo’s three biggest needs currently are for sponsorship for individual students, laptops for their community children’s computer lab and furniture for the classrooms. (At the moment, children often have to sit on the floor to work.)

Posted by gdjjennings in 2017, Junior Church, news, World Church, Youth Group