‘The Lord almighty . . . says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46: 10-11 (NIV-UK)
Having hoped in my letter last month that the restrictions would be lifted a couple of weeks ago, we still wait with anticipation! I hear many comments from folk who are looking forward to singing hymns in Church again. It’s one of those things we are so used to and miss so much. It is of course wonderful that the choir is able to sing them on our behalf, but it would be better if we can sing them ourselves.
That is because worship is so important to us. It’s one of the reasons we come to church, to be able to worship together. There are, of course, many reasons we come. Our building gives that aura of peace, with the high ceiling and trees visible all around. It is a place we can sit and be still before God. The music also brings us a sense of well-being, as we listen to the harmony. We can meet our friends, and while at the moment we need to be careful not to over-mix, it is possible outside to catch up with each other.
We may also find it easier to pray and bring our concerns to God in a place which has been a place of prayer for so many decades. We can draw comfort from the experience of worship, even when we ourselves are finding life or faith difficult. There are many ways we can experience the presence of God, and it can help us to be more open to hear God speak to us.
Of course, the Church building isn’t the only way we can worship. Worship is a part of the whole of our lives. All we do, at work, in our studies, at home or away from home is worship when we offer it to Go
Right at the beginning of the first lockdown, there was some confusion about the Gov’ts advice that we could have the building open for private prayer. Within the first few days, we had a directive from the URC General Secretary that what the Gov’t said only applied to Anglicans – by law the priest has to say the daily office. For ourselves, we were told, we can pray anywhere!
And so we can! – as can any Christian, of course. Even so, there are still those special places we value, where we feel closer to God, and the ways of worshipping we value. Yet we can know God with us all the time. We can find any place to be still and know that He is God.
As we go forward this month, whether or not we can be singing in the church building by the end of the month, let us make all we do an offering of worship to God.
In Christ’s love, Clare <><
In Memoriam. It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Mrs Audrey Jones on Saturday 12th June. Audrey was a faithful member and Elder of our church, serving willingly in many capacities for a great many years and still organising the Church Flowers until the pandemic forced the church to close for worship. We hold her daughter Ann and grandson, Ben, and the rest of her family in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time.
The funeral and memorial service will be held on Wednesday, 14th July at 1pm but, sadly, because of current restrictions, will be by invitation only.
I am now co-ordinating Church Flowers. Given the current uncertainty around the pandemic and the diminishing number of volunteer flower arrangers, at least for the moment, the Flower Calendar in the vestibule is suspended.
I would be grateful if anyone who is willing to present the flowers would let me know. There is no need for an elaborate pedestal arrangement, a bouquet from the supermarket in one of the many vases in the flower cupboard, or a flowering plant, would be equally welcome. For anyone unfamiliar with the flower preparation paraphernalia, I am more than happy to provide enlightenment.
Audrey Jones, along with her dear friend Joan Throssell, had organized our church flowers for many years. Audrey designed and made the calendar which brightened up the vestibule, managed the donations and organized the flower arrangers. Like so many things in life, we take it for granted that there will be flowers in the sanctuary each week and their beauty not only gives us pleasure but is a reminder of the beauty of God’s creation. We remember Audrey with thanks for her service in this aspect of our worship and are grateful to Gladys for taking over the role.
CALENDAR FOR JULY
We are back in Church, and the Events Calendar is back on the website!
Please follow the link at the top of the page.
This month’s prayer meeting is due to be on Wednesday 14th July, from 10.30-11am as usual. Do join us in the comfort of your own home to spend the time in prayer for those in our church and those we know who are unwell, bereaved or need prayer for other issues. Maybe next month we’ll meet in person again!
MEET AND GREET COFFEE MORNING
A reminder that we shall be holding a Coffee Morning on Saturday, 24th July at 10am when our Moderator, Rev Jamie Kissack, will be visiting us not only to get to know us better but to share the current ‘vision for the partnership’ in Leeds, explaining ‘how it could work’, discussing ‘particular issues for each congregation’, the ‘next steps’ and ‘how we will meet the necessary deadlines’.
It is important that we understand these issues because we shall, as a church, have to make decisions at Church Meeting that will affect our future and the future of ministry in Leeds. Please support this important event and advise Aleck if you plan to attend.
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK
THANK YOU for donating to Christian Aid Week 2021.
TOTAL DONATIONS WERE £750.14
Your donations raised:- £635.00 of which £560.00 was Gift Aided
Donations for Vaccines was £20.00 of which £20.00 was Gift Aided.
As most of you know, The Garage in Far Headingley have a Christian Aid Collection Can at the Till. The clients of the Garage donated £95.14 between mid January and the end of May.
I donated this for Vaccine use.
FUNDRAISING FOR WHEATFIELDS
Our congratulations to Brenda Mackintosh and family for their splendid effort in raising funds for Wheatfields by walking from the church lodge (and back!) to Golden Acre Park. They raised £2,147.74p once Gift Aid had been added. This was more than twice Brenda’s target and means that over £5,000 has been donated to Wheatfields with the Lent Appeal. And a reminder that we hope to give them further support in November when the Harrogate Male Voice Choir are planning an afternoon concert in the church on Sunday, 14th November.
This June saw the 1,500th anniversary of the birth St Columba, and, although we are a church that tries to look forward rather than back, surely it is right to remember and celebrate the life of this saint who brought Christianity to Scotland and the north of England at a time of great danger. It is hard to imagine the strength of the presence of this man who founded monasteries, acted as a diplomat, transcribed books and communicated his faith by his very being. We, who gather together under his name, pray that a little of his great faith may bless us. A man of great personal courage, his prayer is a prayer for each one of us – especially when times are difficult.
Be a bright flame before me, O God
a guiding star above me.
Be a smooth path below me,
a kindly shepherd behind me
today, tonight, and for ever.
Alone with none but you, my God
I journey on my way;
what need I fear when you are near,
O Lord of night and day?
More secure am I within your hand
than if a multitude did round me stand.