We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.’
(2 Corinthians 5: 19-20 NIV)
Although we are unable to enjoy fireworks again this year which Brenda, David and family have put on for so many years, there are other celebrations to come in the month of November. One of course is Remembrance Sunday, and the other is Advent Sunday.
They are two very different celebrations. Remembrance Sunday is a solemn time to remember those who have given their lives in war. It isn’t in fact a celebration, but a time to remind ourselves again of the horrors of war, and to invest in peace and reconciliation. I watched a short video recently of a Minister who was giving a homily. He said that the pandemic has polarised people even more, between people of different cultures and between rich and poor. When that happens, there is the danger of violence erupting.
As a denomination, at General Assembly, we have agreed to work to be not just non-racist, but anti-racist, and to take on board the lessons of white supremacy, which in the colonial past have caused others to be put down and enslaved, and from which people of different ethnicities still feel the effects. It may not be quite as straightforward as that, but we can all strive to be respectful of each other’s gifts and abilities so that we can all work together, and maybe be a beacon of hope to a fractured society.
The above verse reminds us that in all our relationships, we are to be beacons of hope. The message of reconciliation is, of course, about God reconciling the world to himself through Christ. And we are to be ambassadors of that message; in other words to live it out, to represent Christ to others. Part of that is to treat everyone as equal, as we all are before God, to be attentive to those who are struggling, and to embody the peace of Christ in our relationships and to those around us. Maybe we can treat everyone as special, as God treats us.
Advent Sunday is the start of our celebrations that lead us up to Christmas. There is remembering in that too, that God came among us, that people were expecting God to move among them as Messiah and expecting the promises of God to be fulfilled. There is remembering of all it cost Jesus in leaving the glory of heaven to experience all that makes us human, including all the failings and all the conflicts. He came to a world that was used to violence, and suffered Himself at the hands of those who cared little about anyone except themselves. He suffered a painful and humiliating death.
In that, Advent is also about the message of reconciliation, that God was coming to reconcile the world to himself. That is what we look forward to in Advent, God coming among us in Jesus. Christ embodies the reconciliation of God, the good news of God, that we are all loved and that he longs for us to turn to him in our lives.
As we go through Remembrance and Advent, may we remember the God over all, and the God who we are privileged to serve as his ambassadors, a light to others.
In Christ’s love, Clare <><
This month’s prayer meeting is due to be on Wednesday 10th November, from 10.30am to 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.
|CALENDAR FOR NOVEMBER 2021
|Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
|Morning Worship for Remembrance Sunday led by our Minister
|Elders’ Meeting via Zoom
|Morning Worship including the Sacrament of Holy Communion
led by our Minister
|Charity Concert by Harrogate Male Voice Choir
|Morning Worship for Advent Sunday led by Rev Dr Kevin Ward
|Advent Sunday worship@4
This will be a Candlelight Service with Christingles on Sunday 19th December, 4pm. Please put it in your diary!
LEEDS URC PARTNERSHIP NEWS
With all the expected eight Churches voting to the proposals to form the Leeds URC Partnership served by a team ministry, by the time you read this, the Steering Group will have sent the Profile in to call a new Minister to the Partnership. So that ball is rolling.
The Steering Group are also able to announce a date for the inauguration of the Partnership and Induction of the current ministry team to the Partnership, which will take place on Saturday 29th January 2022 at 2pm. The venue is to be decided. Our Moderator, Rev’d Jamie Kissack, will lead the service. Please put this date in your diary.
Other current news from the Partnership:
Alex Walker, the Elder in Local Leadership at The URC in South Leeds is currently running a course on prayer, based on a book by Pete Grieg. If you have missed the sessions so far and have internet capabilities, you can catch up on www.prayercourse.org. Each week there is a 20 minute long video that is watched as part of the session.
The remaining sessions on how to pray are continuing throughout November, live at the URC in S Leeds on Nesfield Rd, on Mondays at 10.30am, all are welcome, and a hot drink awaits; and on Zoom on Tuesdays, 10.30am, with the following link:
Meeting ID: 727 028 3180
Following on from the Prayer course, will be an Advent course. This is in the planning stages. It is likely to be as last year on Tuesday mornings, Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings, with a mixture of live venues and Zoom gatherings. It will run throughout December, with a final session or two after Christmas. We shall be studying ‘Journeying with the Magi’ – an Advent Course in the Celtic Tradition – by Keith Duke. A copy of the book is not essential.
WORLD DAY OF PRAYER
The World Day of Prayer Service (led by women) is to be held on the 4th. March, 2022 at St. Chad’s Church.
The Theme is “I know the plans I have for you” and has been prepared by the Christian Women of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In preparation for this Service a day conference will be held at St. Andrew’s, Roundhay URC on Friday, 5th November 2021, commencing at 10am.
Please see the Notice Board for all details. A packed lunch will be required but tea & coffee will be available Cost £4 per person (or £5 on the day) to help cover expenses. Please contact Sheana Dudley asap if you would like to attend. (Telephone & Email details are on the Notice Board).
Thank you all for your generous donations to our Harvest Appeal which raised £960 of which £690 was Gift Aided. Water Aid raised £550 of which £335 was Gift Aided and Help the Persecuted raised £410 of which £355 was Gift Aided. A letter of acknowledgement has been received from Help the Persecuted and this is displayed on the Church Notice Board.
It has been decided not to provide a party for our special friends this year but we are still hoping to support them. Monetary donations can be given to Susan Bollon and this will be split between the Women’s Refuge and the Salvation Army. Santa bags will also be distributed to the families known to us who need that extra special help. Thank you in advance for your continued generosity in supporting these worthwhile causes.
Our lunch this month will be held on Tuesday, 9th November, meeting from 12.30pm for lunch at 1 o’clock. All are welcome – plus friends – just let us know if you would like to come.
We are planning to hold our Christmas Lunch on Tuesday 14th December, so put the date in your diary. We hope that pandemic figures will not continue to rise and that new restrictions will not be needed that may jeopardise social events, but, naturally, we shall follow any guidelines at that time.
The Charity Concert for Wheatfields Hospice that was due to be held in the Spring of 2020 has now been planned for the afternoon of Sunday 21st November. Full details are given in the notice below. The pandemic is giving some cause for concern at present and should there have to be a further changes because of government advice we shall let you know as soon as possible.
Men without arms and boys without legs
And some without limbs at all.
They only did what they thought was right
And answered their country’s call.
The bible says there will be wars,
And so war there’s bound to be.
For man will do what he thinks he must
In an urge to set men free.
So tyrants who covet a ruler’s crown
And rulers who want it all,
Cause men to die on a battlefield
Where the right must fight or fall.
Yet somehow and somewhere there has to come
A reason for strife to end,
When swords will be ploughshares once again
And an enemy, a friend.
When Jesus came to a weary world
As a saviour and a friend,
We had no notion of fight or fall,
Or knew how the fight might end.
To rise from the ashes of others’ fires
Unsullied, unscathed by flame,
A kiss of a friend was His battlefield
And the Prince of Peace, His name.