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Posted: Sun 2nd May 2021

There are still places available in the hall for our service on 23rd May at 10.45.   

Please contact Stella on clarkest@mybroadband.ws or 01524 791292 if you wish to attend. 

There will be further live services in the coming weeks so please book ahead if you can.

Thanks,

Stella

 

Posted: Wed 28th Apr 2021
Dear Friends,
Trust you are all doing well and enjoying the lovely spring weather.
As I mentioned at the start of the month this is the last of the weekly thoughts - things are moving on.
Thanks again for all your contributions: I have used some of your personal stories in the thoughts, thank you for allowing me to do so. I am grateful for all the positive, reflective and sometimes challenging feedbacks received.
Take care and stay blessed,
Irene
 

Thought for week beginning 24th April 2021

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name…and do not forget how kind he is Psalm 103:1

Now in his 70s’, and with increasing health concerns impacting his day-to-day living, Walter, is needing to slow down. He used to be an active outdoor individual, who was a very keen bowler, winning trophies, but not anymore. Yet, he says: In our day to day life, we are given the choice to be positive or negative in the way we live. So, I get up in the morning, thanking God for another new day, and enjoy what the day brings. Here’s a man whose choice of focus, helps him not to become overwhelmed by his health concerns and challenges of the day. So also, it was with the psalmist, who did not place his confidence and faith in his circumstances, ability or resources, but in the goodness and greatness of God. His trust compelled him to proclaim: Bless the Lord, O my soul; and do not forget how kind he is. Psalm 103:1.

Friends it's easy to fall into the trap of expecting much from God, but appreciating little. In challenging times, we tend to become anxious, depressed, and afraid, because of our choice of focus – we tend to focus on the negatives, rather than on the God whose kindness is not diminished by the circumstances of life. As we move into a new phase with churches beginning to look forward to reopening for physical worship, there will be new opportunities to meet up with family, church members, friends, and strangers who might become friends, so let’s shift focus and stay positive and imbue others with positivity. 

Also, as Walter does, we too can choose to thank God for each new day and the life he gives us to enjoy it. Let’s develop the habit of focusing daily on at least three things that we are thankful for, as this would help us from losing heart and becoming negative. Among other things, today, I’m thanking God for: 1. Jesus and his sustaining grace in the midst of the global challenge. 2.The opportunity to talk and laugh with family and friends. 3.The lovely spring weather, the flowers and the birdsong. What are you thankful to God for today?  

I find the words of the hymn below to be helpful:

 

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

(Hymn: When upon life billows, published 1897, Johnson Oatman) 

 

Looking forward to our churches reopening for worship and other activities soon.

Blessings

Irene John

Posted: Sat 24th Apr 2021

Dear Friends,

“Yet more than ever believers were added
to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women,
so that they even carried out the sick into the streets,
and laid them on cots and mats,
in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some
of them as he came by”.
(Acts 5: vs. 14 – 15)

Luke records in Acts the energy and spiritual dynamism of the early church as they demonstrate life as resurrection community through the power of the Holy Spirit. Many signs and wonders were being done the Apostles.

From the passage above we see how people lay the sick on the street hoping that Peter’s shadow would fall upon them and that they might be healed. Later on, Luke makes the bold claim that all who were brought to the Apostles were healed. The early church grew numerically because of the powerful healing ministry of the church. This leads us to the conclusion that the church has to be a place of healing.

By healing the sick and the lame the Apostles were bringing those who were vulnerable and excluded back into the fold. In God’s Kingdom all are to be included. Exclusion brings division. Healing opens the door to new opportunities and potential new horizons.

That is why we need to see those signs and wonders of healing and reconciliation in our own communities. Healing can take the form of feeding the hungry, providing warmth and conversation to the lonely, offering sincere words of welcome and support to those who are refugees.

The resurrection was an act of healing. Our broken relationship with God was healed through Jesus. On that first Easter Day the risen Jesus said to the disciples “Peace be with You!”. Peace with God and with ourselves is part of the healing process.

The question we need to ask is how can we open ourselves up to the power of the Holy Spirit to allow us as a church to become a source of healing? Our worship needs to be a source of deep healing and loving acceptance that draws people into the presence of God. Simply put our lives must powerfully reflect the peace of God offered to us in Jesus.

When the church is seen to be a place of peace and healing then people will recognise that God is in the midst of his people and God’s kingdom will grow.

With every Blessing,

Reverend John Gordon.
April 2021.

Posted: Sun 18th Apr 2021

Thought for week beginning 11th April 2021

Last Sunday, we celebrated Easter day, but that does not write finish to our Lord Jesus Christ – His story is never ending. There is life springing from the resurrection, that leaves us with a faith that must be lived out and acted upon: We are called to renew our engagement with Jesus Christ, to deepen our relationship with him, who, because of his death and resurrection, has given us newness of life, and new hope, that is not restricted to this life but is for eternity.
The story is told of a Rabbi and a soap maker who went out for a walk together one day. As they walked along the soap maker said to the Rabbi: What good is religion if all this misery and suffering exist? The Rabbi said nothing. They continued walking until the Rabbi noticed a child playing in the gutter. The Rabbi said: Look at that child. You say that soap makes people clean, but see the dirt on that youngster. Of what good is soap? With all the soap in the world the child is still filthy. I wonder how effective soap is after all. The soap maker protested: But Rabbi, soap cannot do any good unless it is used. Exactly, replied the Rabbi – So it is with religion. It is ineffective unless it is applied.
So, it is with us and our profession of faith in Jesus. We need to continue to apply our faith belief in practical terms in our everyday living reality, getting on with the work God has given us. Our words and our actions must proclaim the resounding message that we serve a living Saviour who is active in the world today. As the Easter story continues, we need to be a part of it, by allowing ourselves to be renewed afresh by God’s Spirit, even as we embrace the new beginnings and possibilities that beckon.

Below is a photo of the cross we displayed in our window during Holy Week, and decorated on Easter day, as a symbol of new life and new hope.
Take care and blessings
Irene John


 

Posted: Sat 10th Apr 2021

 Happy Easter to everyone from all at Garstang URC.

Posted: Sun 4th Apr 2021

 Dear Friends,                                                  Easter Day 2021.

 
“Christ is risen. The stone is rolled away. Alleluia! Alleluia!
 
We enter into Easter Day to be surprised by the Risen Christ finding ourselves and our world transformed by the gift of love from God. As the Apostle Paul writes:
 
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
 
Paul captures the beauty of that first Easter Morning as a new creation, that everything has become new. Each new day brings new hope and new possibilities. It is all too easy to carry weight of unfulfilled hopes and dreams and failures. These burdens like to tomb stone has been rolled away.
 
The Easter Day new creation has inspired people all over the world throughout history to move beyond fear and hatred to hope and reconciliation. The Corrymeela Community was established in Northern Ireland to offer a vision of community in a land struggling with sectarian violence. The hope of Resurrection in a broken world was worth praying and working for. It is the hope of a new creation.
 
“Together is better” is the mission statement of the Corrymeela Community. This captures the Easter Day vision of a new creation. Paul continues to teach the Corinthian church: “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”
 
This is a profound conviction. God has given to us the task of reconciliation of being peacemakers in our broken world. Keeping score of wrongs done is not part of God’s game plan. That was shown to us on Easter Day.   
 
In this task of reconciliation Paul calls each of us as an ambassador for Christ. As Easter people we are called to move beyond the brokenness of the world into the healing light of God’s kingdom.
 
Mary and the first disciples were initially confused when they first encountered the empty tomb. They thought it was impossible that maybe the body had been stolen. Then Jesus came to them and then to many others. Likewise, Jesus has come to each of us. We have been drawn into the light and love of God’s kingdom. Likewise, God has come to us in the days of our own living. On this Easter Day the gate of everlasting life has been opened to us for from now on we now live in the power of God. 
 
With Easter Blessings,
 
Reverend John Gordon.
 
Posted: Sun 4th Apr 2021

All services will be on Zoom.

April   1st      7.00pm      Rev John Gordon & Rev Irene John     Communion for Agape


April   4th    10.45am     Mike Hart                                Easter Sunday Communion


April 11th    10.45am      Rev Irene John


April 18th    10.45am      Rev David Greenwood


April 25th    10.45am      Rev Irene John

Posted: Sun 28th Mar 2021

 

Posted: Sun 28th Mar 2021

Thought for week beginning 28-3-21, Palm Sunday


Look, your king is coming to you! He comes triumphant and victorious, but humble and riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).


The first Palm Sunday was a day full of contradictions: instead of riding into Jerusalem on horseback, Jesus entered on a donkey which was a symbol that He was coming in humility as the King of peace, not as a political hero. Jesus came to serve and give his life, to put us right with God. So, the celebratory Palm Sunday hymn – All glory, laud and honour, becomes the Passion Sunday hymn; Ride on ride on in majesty, in lowly pomp ride on to die. The contradiction continues with the palm carpeted passageway, leading to a royal throne, becoming instead a lonely path to a cross. Every moment of the week will widen the gap between acceptance and rejection. By the end of the week those who want to be rid of Jesus will have their way and the followers of Jesus would be frightened into silence. In less than a week Jesus would go from being the leader of many to being abandoned by all. Between Palm Sunday and Good Friday, the Good Shepherd would become the Passover Lamb.
We can’t help but wonder about the crowd - how many of those who enthusiastically cried, ‘Hosanna’ on Palm Sunday shouted, ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him’, a few days later? How much did they understand about Jesus? Was he ruling in their hearts and lives? Like the crowd the challenge is to reflect on the question of how much we understand about Jesus - do we shout hosanna today and crucify on Good Friday? Jesus challenges us to respond to him by moving from religion to a life transforming relationship and commitment to him, for only he can transform the poverty and emptiness of our lives. This week, look at the cross and reflect on the one who died there - for though he was God and worthy of all honour, he did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life a ransom for many. He invites us to serve him in true humility and faithfulness – will you?
Take care and blessings
Irene John
 

Posted: Sun 28th Mar 2021

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