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ECO Church Silver Award

Over the past two or three years, in an effort to care more for the Earth, God’s wonderful creation, various members and friends at Garstang URC have been undertaking projects and changing the way we do things.
This was coordinated by Management Committee, where John Allen was an enthusiastic champion. We have been measuring our improvements against standards suggested by the Christian charity A Rocha, who work with churches and other organisations in practical ways to show that the Gospel is good news for the environment.
Our achievements to date have been assessed in four categories:
• our worship and teaching
• how we look after our buildings and land
• how we engage with our local community and support global campaigns
• the personal lifestyles of our congregation.
… and we have been given a Silver Award.
The challenge now is to maintain and increase our activities, encouraging others to do the same, so that together we can lessen our impact on the environment.
There will be more news about this in the months ahead as we have more opportunities to make a real difference. Let’s all play our part.
Management Committee

Posted: Sun 5th Apr 2020

A message from Revd. Dr. Irene John.

Dear Friends,
Holy Week
I hope you are all well and coping in the current crisis situation.
As part of Christians Together in Garstang, I want to encourage you all to display a cross in your home window during Holy Week.
The cross could be one you already have at home, perhaps a palm cross from a previous Palm Sunday, or one you could make from tree branches in your garden, or from a cardboard cutting.
On Easter Sunday, the cross could be decorated with flowers, ribbons and colours, as a symbol of hope and new life.
Stay safe and God bless you all
Irene

Posted: Sat 4th Apr 2020

Thought of the week, Friday, 3rd. April 2020

 

Palm Sunday Reflection

In these days of “social distancing” and “self-isolation”, today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 21 v 1-11) as Jesus makes his triumphal entry to Jerusalem through the adoring crowds chanting “Alleluia!”, seems like a scene from another age. Perhaps it reminds us closer to home of some of the great festivals we have experienced in our community and lifetime. I remember the impact when we moved to Garstang with Six and Three-year-old girls of the first Children’s festival we and they enjoyed, or as an adopted Coventrian of the celebrations that followed the 1987 FA Cup Final. “Alleluia We Won” announced the Parish Church notice board in the city centre.
For all of us, the current restrictions on our normal life are causing us to have to rethink some of the assumptions we make about how we live in the variety of communities of which we are part. We are spending more time in some communities – for me a household with both girls permanently at home for the first time in four years; less in others – the Synod Office is closed, so I have to interact with our staff by phone and video; and in some like our church we are having to rethink how we provide that active belonging that is an important part of our lives.
I’m just finishing reading Julian Baggini’s excellent exploration of the global history of Philosophy, “How the World Thinks”. In his chapter on relationships, he focuses specifically on the Japanese approach to community. In this he challenges our western stereotype of a society based on conformity and explains a set of values that are inherently pro-social, “because everyone behaves in the best interests of everybody else, not because they are trying to fit in”. An approach which is gently reinforced by visual reminders for example on the Subway.


  Image extracted and edited from www.japanandmore.com

The nature of individual’s place in society is determined by how they stand in relation to others and the respect that they give to others’ position and needs.
In many ways, current circumstances are asking us to rethink our traditional western focus on the individual and instead ask us to think and behave in a way that recognises the impact of the way we live our lives on others. As with anytime of change and uncertainty many of us will find this hard and perhaps feel fearful, but as the American evangelist “Jim Wallis” wrote in a recent editorial on www.sojo.net “Amid this, we must not let fear become a way of life. We remember the words of Jesus: Love can cast out fear. Leaning into love and learning what it really means to love our neighbours in this crisis will be crucial to our collective health and survival.”


A prayer for ourselves and our community
“Lord Jesus, you give abundant life, yet we feed on fear; you give abundant life, yet we make our home in the valley of the shadow of death, fearing every evil, unsure if you are with us. Helps us to receive the life that is life, to face fear with courage, to raise our voices in abundant praise. “
Amen


Mike Hart

 

Posted: Fri 3rd Apr 2020

 Thought of the week, Saturday 28th March 2020

Dear friends
At the beginning of Lent we were encouraged to make time for quiet reflection: to stop, take stock and reflect on the health or otherwise of our faith; to develop a closer relationship with God. As we approach the end of Lent we are all being compelled to stop all daily activities and examine what is important to us like never before.
The poet William Davies wrote ‘What is this world if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?’ Being housebound for 3 weeks [12 weeks for many] has given everyone plenty of time not just to ‘stand and stare’ but to assess what life might be like on the other side of this pandemic.
The world around us is changing. We applaud the selflessness of NHS and care workers and members of the other emergency services. We are amazed how many people are volunteering to help others in this time of crisis. Will this change from a self-centred society to a more caring one continue?
May this Lent have been the time when more people have discovered that what is most important in life is the love of and for family, friends and others and the importance of caring. That material gains fade into insignificance when compared to the pleasure of reaching out to a world in need of a little TLC.
Show me the right path, O Lord, point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by Your truth and teach ,me…I put my hope in You. Psalm 25:4-5
Sally Watson.

Posted: Sat 28th Mar 2020

 Stay safe, stay at home, save lives.

Posted: Fri 27th Mar 2020

Dear Church Member,

Like all medicines, we receive a long list of the possible side effects that can appear in a few or a large number of cases.
These warnings are for our help and guidance and can be very useful.

I have found that coronavirus itself, not medicines or jabs since they are not yet available, but the situation that the whole world finds itself in can also have some side effects.
The Government and medical advisors have given many clear instructions as to how we should conduct ourselves and what we should and should not do to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

Here are some of the side effects that I have found and would be included on a list with any medication if it were available.

  1. You may find that people are more friendly
  2. Neighbours offer to help with shopping or doing other necessary errands (posting letters etc)
  3. More and longer telephone calls can happen as people check on each other
  4. If a walk is taken for the allowed exercise the obligatory two metres apart is accommodated by both parties
  5. All the jobs in the house or garden that you have been putting off will be tackled as more free time is found
  6. Air pollution improves as aircraft and cars are used less
  7. Adverse effects can be that some people become greedy and buy more from the supermarkets than they really need
  8. There are many more and if you can think of any please add to the list

Stay safe, follow the advice, and the long dark tunnel will come to an end.

David R,

Posted: Fri 27th Mar 2020

 Congratulations to Audrey and Basil on

their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

Posted: Thu 26th Mar 2020

Revd. Dr. Irene John would like to pass on the following statement.

Greater Manchester Faith Community Leaders Coronavirus (Covid 19)

Our communities are following the latest Government guidance on public association and good hygiene in response to the spread of Coronavirus. This guidance is updated daily on the Government website. It is the best way in which we can demonstrate care for one another and all for whom we share responsibility.

We are working hard within our communities, and with one another, to find ways of supporting all who are in isolation. We will work together tirelessly to ensure that no group, race, culture or faith are discriminated against or treated prejudicially - and will be vigilant in care for all our neighbours. Some quote Covid 19 as an excuse for a rise in racist incidents. This is indefensible - and we stand with the victims.

We commend the work of all in the NHS, the emergency services and in local government at this critical time, as well as our national leaders - and assure them of our prayers and our co-operation, with one another and with them, as we face these challenging circumstances together.

Endorsed by Greater Manchester Faith Community Leaders.

A full text of the statement can be view by clicking here.

 

Posted: Tue 24th Mar 2020

Thought of the week, Monday, 23rd March 2020

At this point in time, what is your biggest fear?
Travelling on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem was a long, lonely and dangerous journey - Many a time it was a matter of life and death. For the pilgrims, the much-needed reassurance of God’s unfailing love and protection came from Psalm 121 - The Lord’s presence and protection will be with them when they leave and when they return again the next time. His presence would also be with them in their everyday activities.
In life’s pilgrimage, especially in the current crisis situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, our security rests in God. God promises us his presence even in the midst of danger and challenges. He is our source of safety and protection. Keep your focus on him, and say with the psalmist: I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He never dozes or sleeps. The Lord is by my side to protect me from all danger. He will keep me safe. Ps.121 Trust him and allow faith to overrule fear.


Blessings
Irene John

Posted: Mon 23rd Mar 2020

 The following notice has been posted on the Church Hall door.

Talking of posting notices on doors. . . 

Martin Luther and the Plague

Back in 1527, a deadly plague hit Martin Luther’s town of Wittenberg and he wrote a letter to a friend, the Rev. Dr. John Hess, on “Whether One Should Flee From  A Deadly Plague”.

 “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbour needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Posted: Fri 20th Mar 2020

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