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URC Mersey latest

I know the plans I have for you
Moderator Jacky Embrey ...
‘Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’ (Jeremiah 29.11) These words came to the people of Israel as they faced years of exile, change and uncertainty.

They had no more expected to be in that position than we expected to find ourselves in our current situation. Nevertheless, God had plans for them and God has plans for us, plans for our welfare. God’s future is always full of possibilities and hope, but often change and uncertainty too.

I had expected to spend my last four years of stipendiary ministry in Mersey Synod, but God has other plans. I have received a call to minister in the Bolton and Salford Missional Partnership. I don’t yet know when I’ll be moving, due to manse issues, but that is just one more uncertainty in an uncertain time.

Today we are all dealing with uncertainty and waiting for a clearer picture of the new things that God may be asking of us and of our churches. (Isaiah 43.19) It’s a time to read the whole of Isaiah 43 and to remember that God’s words, ‘Do not fear…I will be with you…you are precious in my sight…’
Incoming General Secretary

Staff enjoyed meeting incoming URC General Secretary John Bradbury (bottom left) this week – on Zoom of course. John said he was looking forward to getting about and meeting people in person as soon as we’re able.

Photos needed
The virtual General Assembly will be worship-based to induct the new officers of assembly. To enrich the prayers of Thanksgiving, a photo montage of images of churches responding to the challenges of Covid19 will be shown. Pictures have been included in the book of reports and these will be used. However more pictures are welcome. These can be accompanied by a short caption such as ‘Smalltown URC posted encouraging messages on its railings at Easter.’ Photos can be sent direct to Andy Jackson with the caption, using the words Thanksgiving Photo in the subject header.
More resources
The URC continues to produce up-to-date and helpful advice, including the latest guidance if you’re considering reopening for prayer, risk assessments and a waiver poster (these are also included on our website). The government issued new guidance for places of worship.

The following activities are examples of what is not currently permitted (not an exhaustive list) within a place of worship. It is encouraged that services continue to take place online wherever possible.
  • communal or corporate worship (led devotions/ worship/ service/ prayer by a Minister of Religion or lay person
  • services other than funerals, e.g. baptisms or coming of age ceremonies
  • study groups, and out of school settings, including faith supplementary schools such as Sunday schools
  • lifestyle and leisure/recreational groups such as craft groups or exercise groups
  • meetings including practices such as choir practice or bell ringing
  • tourism: buildings should remain closed for tourism purposes
Hymn available
Revds Martyn Coe and Andy Braunston have passed on a link to a new John Bell hymn which was used at an Iona Community event recently. John has written some very moving words which are sung by Alison Adam and accompanied by Ian McLarty. The song has been made freely available provided it is credited properly.
We will meet when the danger is over
John L Bell (C) Wild Goose Resource Group, The Iona Community

We will meet when the danger is over,
we will meet when the sad days are over;
we will meet sitting closely together
and be glad our tomorrow has come.

See the full hymn and find out more, including links to a video of the song, the score and an MP3 file of the hymn.
West Bank

At the URC Mission Committee meeting, a resolution was passed asking local churches and individuals to consider writing to their MP about the proposed annexation of large parts of the West Bank by the Israeli Government. Attached is a copy of the Mission Committee statement and resolution, together with some guidelines for those churches and individuals who decide they wish to contact their MP.

There have been a number of storms in recent days in some parts of the region - check out our 20 second video to remind us to be in awe and wonder at God’s power.
That's all for this week -
have a lovely weekend!