Last week, “Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame” was released in cinemas across the world. It is the final chapter of a story that started 11 years ago and spans over 20 movies.
I don’t wish to spoil the film but pick up on just one seemingly insignificant part at the start of it. The film’s villain, Thanos, has completed his mission and restored the universe to how he thinks it should be. We are told that he now lives in a place called “The Garden”.
It got me thinking about Genesis and the garden of Eden and about the power of nostalgia. Sometimes we wish things could go back to how they were. But that’s not what the biblical writers thought. The Biblical story starts in a garden but ends in a city.
Rather than trying to take things back to how they were, we get to partner with God to bring about a renewed creation. How will you play your part in that restoration project today?
Steven Mitchell, Children’s & Youth Development Officer
PEOPLE AND CHURCHES
Revd Stuart Nixon has been appointed as Birchwood Minister, a new Special Category Ministry, in Birchwood, Warrington. Stuart’s induction service will take place at Thomas Risley URC, Glover Road, Locking Stumps WA3 7PH at 3.00 pm on 2nd June. We welcome Stuart and his family to Mersey Synod and pray a blessing on Stuart’s ministry among us.
EVENTS – MAY
The Uniting Church in Garden Lane 66 Garden Lane, Chester CH1 4EW - The next Community Coffee morning is on Saturday 4th May from 10.30 am to 12 noon and all proceeds from the event will be for Christian Aid. Admission to the coffee morning will be £2 to include Fairtrade coffee or tea and cake or scone. A very warm welcome is extended to all.
The community coffee morning at the Uniting Church in Garden Lane (Chester) on Saturday 6th April was always going to be different from the usual ones for a variety of mainly local, good causes. Special guest on this occasion was Alan Birchall, a member of the George Mitchel Minstrels popular on TV in the 1970s accompanied by Derek Harrison of the Derek Harrison Trio on the electric piano. A good time was had by all and the coffee morning raised the magnificent amount of £200 and this will be donated to the Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital Charity.
Forest Church with St. David’s URC, Eastham – you are warmly invited to come and join us at Christ Church, Kings Road, Higher Bebington on 11th May from 3.00 - 4.00 pm, theme: New life / Resurrection. Forest Church meets outdoors, so we will be walking the churchyard and a little way into woodland. Please wear sensible footwear and bring a brolly! Contact Judith on 07845 266831 for more details.
“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars” Luther.
Christian Aid Week 12th – 18th May https://www.christianaid.org.uk/christian-aid-week
"Young Leaders Training" On Saturday 18th May from 11.00 am to 3.00 pm at West Kirby URC, Meols Drive, West Kirby CH48 5DA for young people aged 14 - 19 who help lead at church. A chance to meet young people from other churches for games, discussions and free food. Contact Steven Mitchell, Synod Children’s & Youth Development Officer (CYDO), on 07387 580834 email@example.com to book or to find out more information.
Pray for Schools Fortnight - 12th to 26th May www.prayforschools.org
URC Theology of Worship Seminar - This is a seminar series with a particular focus on the nature, understanding and development of worship in the URC. The next meeting is on Thursday 16th May from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm at the Dr Williams Library, 14 Gordon Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AR, where Dr Phebe Mann will deliver a presentation on the subject: ‘Theocentricity of Music in Congregational Worship’. Dr David Wong and Dr Phebe Mann will explore the importance of music for worshippers in the congregation. Theocentric music is powerful in stimulating emotion and creating a sense of like-mindedness in worship. Lyrics on their own may not be as effective as when they work with music. David and Phebe, based on decades of research and worship leading experience, will introduce their original concept that facilitates worshippers to connect with God. It is hoped that the application of this concept will enhance congregational worship. People with an interest in the theology and understanding of worship in the URC are very welcome, so please spread the word.
Please contact Elizabeth Welch for further details or to book a place firstname.lastname@example.org
Lay Preachers & Worship Leaders Conference 2019 23rd – 25th May 2019 all day at Luther King House, Brighton Grove, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5JP. Preaching for “Ordinary Time”: Inspiration and Resources for Worship from Trinity onwards. The conference will support lay preachers and worship leaders preparing to lead worship in the non-festival times of the year; bible studies, practical sessions, and an optional evening workshop. A full programme will be available in the new year.
There are three options for attendance to the Conference. Bookings include lunch and supper (Thursday/Friday) and lunch on Saturday (depending on attendance), and tea/coffee throughout each day.
Thursday-Saturday Residential – £240 Non-Residential – £140
Thursday-Friday Residential – £160 Non-Residential – £110
Saturday only £40 (including lunch)
To book a place (and for further information) please contact Luther King House Registry Office – 0161 249 2504 – use the online form by clicking here (which also allows you to pay online), or download our Lay Preachers’ Conference Registration Form.
For further information please contact Luther King House Registry Office – 0161 249 2504
‘Thy Kingdom Come’ May 30th to June 9th 2019
Resources are available at https://www.thykingdomcome.global/
See the Synod Calendar at http://www.urcmerseysynod.org.uk/calendar.htm
United Reformed Church News can be found at www.urc.org.uk/news You can also sign up for the monthly News Update.
Joint Public Issues Calendar http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/whats-new/the-public-issues-calendar/
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY (some events may need booking prior to the date of the event)
Thy Kingdom Come prayer event with prayer stations on Wednesday 5th June, 6.00 - 8.00 pm at Toll Bar with Prescot URC, Freckleton Road, St Helens WA10 3AR. All are welcome.
Summer Evening Synods (reps choose which to attend) 19th June at Grange URC, Wirral and 2nd July at Trinity URC, Wigan meeting from 7.00 – 9.00 pm with a light buffet tea which will be provided from 6.15 pm. All are welcome to attend.
Bible show on tour near you! There is a unique opportunity to experience 90 Bible chapters in 90 minutes – and have a fun-filled evening! Don’t miss ‘Would You Adam and Eve It?’, a brilliant show in association with Bible Society, appearing at Holy Trinity Church, Hoghton Street, Southport, PR9 0PN on Friday
28th June at 7.15 pm. Searchlight Theatre Company will be dramatising Genesis and Exodus in their hilarious show which remains true to the Biblical narrative. Make a night of it with your church/ house group and even invite your friends and neighbours, suitable for adults and children over 9. A great opportunity: not to be missed! Tickets are on sale now via phone 01704 568001: adults £10, Youth groups - £5 a ticket, each child accompanied by an adult goes free. For more details go to www.trinityarts.org.uk/
"The Big Speak Out" is a weekend for 11 to 18 year olds on 5th - 7th July 2019 at Repton School, Derbyshire. There will be opportunities to explore your faith, develop skill and talents and think about making your mark, time to hang out with old friends and make news, times to play games, watch movies, share in workshop, take part in workshops, to discuss to learn, to make music or so craft, and times to chill an relax. For more details go to https://urc.org.uk/events-and-opportunities.
Mersey Synod Festival of Worship ‘Holy Encounters’ on Saturday 3rd August from 10.00 am – 4.30 pm at Caldy Valley Neighbourhood Church, Caldy Valley Road, Great Boughton, Chester CH3 5PR. Take part in our first ever Festival of Worship - meet friends and enjoy taster worship sessions in five different creative ways plus closing worship with the Café Jam Band. It's free, it's fun and it's family friendly. Most of the sessions will be open to children but for any which aren't appropriate we'll be running activity sessions for the youngsters. Free lunch and refreshments provided. Places are limited and booking is essential. For more information and booking form visit https://www.urcmerseysynod.org.uk/festivalofworship2019.htm
Free to Believe Reading Party: Life, Death and Everything - 9th – 12th September at Bishop Woodford House, Ely led by Anne Lewitt, URC minister at Petworth, Pulborough and Billingsworth, and Free to Believe chair, Martin Camroux.
Richard Holloway Waiting for the Last Bus: Reflections on Life and Death
Dale Allison Night comes: Death, Imagination and the last things
The reading party offers a chance to think about the meaning of our lives from two different perspectives, both open-minded and critical and reflective, but one mostly no longer believing in God the other still believing. A chance to look at questions more deeply than is often the case in our churches. Cost: £255 ensuite, £235 non-ensuite rooms. For more information or to book contact Martin Camroux, 4 Sorrel Close, Colchester, CO4 5Ul. Deposit of £50 cheques made out to ‘Free to Believe’.
URC Daily Devotions - these can be found at https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ If you would like to be on the list of people who produce them, please contact Synod Office.
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The United Reformed Church, Mersey Synod, 1 Fingall Road, Wavertree, Liverpool, L15 9JE
Tel: 0151 722 6590 www.urcmerseysynod.org.uk