During this last week I attended a seminar online about the cost of living crisis in the UK, which has prompted some thoughts to share with you. It was organized by the Joint Public Issues Team, an ecumenical working organization of the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches.
When we think about poverty, we tend to think of less wealthy countries, as in the picture above of the shacks in South Africa, where whole families live in a hut made of tin. While some in our world live in such poverty that they risk starvation, often through famine and war, such as currently in Yemen, there are so many living in situations of poverty. Just think of all the refugees world-wide, especially at this time from Afghanistan and Ukraine, who have come across red tape that prevents them from getting the help they need.
And then if we look deeper at our own country, and what has been happening over the last ten years or so, the gap between rich and poor has increased so much that millions are having to choose between feeding their family and keeping warm. This hits the poorest in our society so much more than those who are well off. With inflation, it’s been worked out that those on low income have lost between £1,300 and £1,600 buying power, whereas those on good incomes are only losing between £0 and £450. Such a difference, with the latter able to draw on savings too, whereas those on low income or on benefits have not had the luxury of being able to save, many for well over a decade, if at all.
The online seminar highlighted that people with a disability are hit even more. Their need for warmth and good quality food is even greater to combat adverse health conditions. I could go on, as some of the statistics of those who were helped most in the pandemic and in the last budget, were not those on the lowest incomes, but those who were already better off.
Into this scenario of poverty in the UK, Jesus speaks again in the words of Isaiah, that he came to proclaim good news to the poor, recovery of sight to the blind, and to set prisoners and the oppressed free. This is about bringing health and wholeness to all, but a particular emphasis on those who are in difficulty: the poor, the disabled, the oppressed.
Jesus embodied those things in his life, in how he related to people, in how he brought healing to many, in how he challenged the status quo of the Pharisees, and in how he gave worth to so many. That included women, children, foreigners and people with skin disease. He even gave worth to those his day thought of as sinners, and the tax collectors.
Jesus’ message is ours to bear in our day, as his hands and feet. While we can support the many worthy causes around us, I wonder if there is any other way we can reach out to those who are in poverty around us. There was a phrase used in the 1980s in Baptist circles, encouraging Christians to, ‘get your hands dirty’. In other words, to be active in reaching out to people. Many of us can’t be, but there may be ways we can, and it may be time to think again about how we can.
We might also ask about the savings of our church: does it belong to us, or to God’s purposes on earth, and how can we make a difference with it? Maybe it’s an appropriate time in these days to use it to for others, for God’s mission to others. Is it better to spend a good proportion of it while we can for God’s mission, to create a lasting legacy in people’s lives, or to keep it in the bank? Maybe we can see possibilities of developing the mission we already have with the Christmas party and gifts given to families and the Women’s refuge, to make an everyday difference to those in poverty around us.
I’m asking these questions, putting out my thoughts, with only a couple of months left before I move on. But maybe they can get us thinking for the next stage of the church at Headingley St Columba.
With love in Christ, and his blessing on us all, Clare <><
|Pentecost. Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers, including a celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
|Brenda and David’s Platinum Breakfast
|Morning Worship led by our minister, Rev Clare Davison
|Morning Worship including the Sacrament of Holy Communion
led by our Minister, Rev Clare Davison
|Morning Worship at Headingley Methodist Church
|Service to celebrate the Ministry of Revd Clare Davison as Mission and Ministry Enabler in Leeds and Minister at Headingley St Columba.
Followed by Family Barbecue
IN MEMORIAM: It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Mr James Throssell on Sunday, 22nd May, at home. Jim was such a part of our congregation that it is hard to imagine any area of our church life without his statesmanlike presence. He shared his talents to the full, whether advising on financial matters, the organisation of church affairs or, above all, through his musical gifts – singing in the choir for the 40 years he worshipped at Headingley St Columba. He possessed a wonderful tenor voice, frequently singing solos for us both during worship and at social events.
Aleck will advise you of the funeral arrangements in due course.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone for your Birthday wishes, gifts and cards you gave to me on my 80th Birthday. It is really appreciated.
This month’s prayer meeting will be on Wednesday 8th June, from 10.30am to 11am. Prayer sheets are sent around by email to those who would like to prayer around that time, or sometime that day, just contact Margaret Madill or Aleck Brownjohn to receive one. It’s a time to spend in prayer for those in our church and those we know who are unwell, bereaved or need prayer for other issues.
LEEDS URC PARTNERSHIP NEWS
As you will see in the Calendar, we are joining together with the Leeds Partnership Churches to celebrate Clare’s ministry amongst during the past five years. We shall be holding a service on Saturday, 2nd July at 4pm and this will be followed by a Family Barbecue hosted by Brenda and David. Brenda would like an idea of numbers to help with catering and a notice for you to sign will be put up next week in the Hall.
We have 2 prayer groups now running, praying for the mission of our Partnership churches and around Leeds. They are both be monthly, each for just for half an hour on Zoom. Look out for the Zoom links.
Mission & Care Meeting
The Steering Group are arranging the next meeting on 5th October, 7 for 7.30pm at Stainbeck URC.
It’s a long way hence, but all are invited to attend.
Christian Aid Week has just passed, but following the terrible world crises in the early spring, we decided to give our Lent Project donations to Christian Aid. We have now been able to send a cheque to the value of £1864.30 of which almost £700 was gift aided. Joan requested that the money should be used to support the people of Afghanistan. She also thanked Gladys and Kate for collecting, counting and banking the proceeds.
There will be an update on the Christian Aid Week collection next month.
Acts 2 ‘Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind,
and it filled the entire house’.
Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire,
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire,
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours…
Yours are the feet with which he is to go
about doing good,
and yours are the hands with which he is to
bless us now.
St Theresa of Avila 1515-82
put love in my life.
Spirit of God
put joy in my life.
Spirit of God
put peace in my life.
Spirit of God
make me patient.
Spirit of God
make me kind.
make me good
Spirit of God
give me faithfulness.
Spirit of God
give me humility.
Spirit of God
give me self-control.
From Galatians 5:22–2