Newsletter 4th April 2021

EASTER SUNDAY CHRIST IS RISEN – HE IS RISEN INDEED

Message from our Minister

We thank God that we are Easter people!

We proclaim the amazing truth that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we are given an assurance of forgiveness. We celebrate together that we have the promise of new life in Christ. We rejoice that we have a hope that is sure and certain. Praise the Lord!

Marian and I wish you all a very happy Easter.      

God’s richest blessing to you all, Rev John Izzard

Linda, with help from Ellie, put together ‘Easter Activity Bags’ for children who attend Messy Church and ‘Rock Solid’. As you can see above, Grace enjoyed doing the crafts.

Tuesday ‘Zoom’ Fellowship

This week we shared encouraging news and then focussed our minds on Jesus’s example by reading from Philippians chapter 2 and reciting the words of ‘Jesus shall take the highest honour’. Martin then led us in discussion of John chapter 13 and challenged us by asking how we can figuratively ‘wash one another’s feet’. We  finished with a time of prayer for people in the church and community.

An Easter Message

GUR YBEQ VF EVFRA!    UR VF EVFRA VAQRRQ!    NYYRYHVN!

(Puzzled?  The alphabet has two halves, each of 13 letters.  It might help to write them out on two lines.)

Church Alive!

A former Bishop writing about Calcutta Cathedral some years back:

Rarely have I seen a building of more monumental irrelevance to its environment than the Anglican cathedral in Calcutta once was.  It enshrined the imperial ideals of the British rulers, with its shining Gothic splendour like a classical palace.  But what on earth had it to do with the swarming humanity of Calcutta or the poverty-stricken Church of North India?  The cathedral seemed to be wrapped in a dream of the past.

Then came the war in Bangladesh.  Exhausted and bewildered refugees poured over the frontiers and the Indian government did its best to provide them with minimal services.  The cathedral office under its Indian dean took up the challenge of the refugees.  The barn-like cathedral became a barn in fact, the main clearing house for material aid.  The spacious driveway, designed for vice-regal carriages, was churned by heavy trucks and the marble steps were chipped by the edges of crates and canisters. The congregation, which grew beyond all previous records, moved forward along narrow alleys between towering walls of rice sacks, flour bags and blankets, to receive communion with a deeper sense of the Mystery than ever.  The great Victorian galleries became the workrooms in which hundreds of yards of tarpaulin were stitched into tents and bivouacs.  It was a disfigured death of many cherished values, but what a coming to life was there!

(From John V Taylor: A Matter of Life and Death. – But pray for Christians in India in our own time.)

– A bit like our cathedrals being used for vaccinations in 2021?  How can we breathe life into our own church building in a post-lockdown world?

A Banquet!

“The Christian faith is not a hunger lunch: it is a banquet.”

(Elvi Rhodes, found in Lesley’s Happy Book)

– Nothing wrong with hunger lunches in aid of a good cause – as we used to have during Lent – but in our faith, Jesus offers us more than bread and cheese!

Bragging about Dad

Three small boys in the school playground were bragging about their fathers. One of them boasted, ‘My Dad just scribbles a few lines on the back of an envelope and calls it a poem. They give him £50 for it!’ The second boy chipped in: ’That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles some words on a piece of paper and calls it a song. They give him £100 for it.’ Well, my Dad does better than that,’ said the third. ‘He scribbles down a few words and calls it a sermon – and after that it takes eight people to collect up all the money!’

(from ‘If you think my preaching’s bad, try my jokes by David Pitches)

Jokes from Simon

Qu. Why can’t the melon run away and marry?
Ans. It’s a  Cantaloupe (Canteloupe)

Qu. Why couldn’t the pirate play cards?
Ans. Because he was sat on the deck!

Boris Johnson praises churches   

by Cara Bentley for Premier Christian News
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thanked churches for their role during lockdown and acknowledged the ‘selfless stoicism’ Christians have shown while church has been online. 

The Prime Minister, who will be speaking briefly at the online Christian festival Spring Harvest Home said, “I want to say a great big thank you because over the past year or so I have seen over and over again the teachings of Jesus Christ brought to life by people like yourselves: men and women, young and old, right across the UK.” 
 
Johnson continues, “I’ve lost count of the number of Church leaders and congregations from all denominations, that have stepped up to support not only one another, but also to support the whole local community, people of all faiths and none.”
 
The Prime Minister also recognised the sacrifice many Christians have made over the past year: “For many months you have been unable to come together for worship and prayer as you would normally do. I know that has been a huge burden for many Christians, but it is a burden you have borne with selfless stoicism without complaint and by adapting to online worship and meetings.” 

The Prime Minister concluded, “While this has not been the Easter any of us would have liked, and Spring Harvest is obviously not happening in its usual bustling way, we’re getting there, and we’re getting there because of people like you.”
 
The Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey have also recorded a video message for those attending the online festival, with their own message to Christians in the UK, which will air on Easter Monday. 
 
After their messages are aired, Christians from different political backgrounds will join a panel hosted by Andy Flannagan from Christians in Politics on how believers can be more active in politics as part of their faith.

Phil Loose, CEO of Essential Christian, the home of Spring Harvest, responded to the Prime Minister’s comments by saying, “This is an important moment for the Church, to have the recognition of the Prime Minister for the work and sacrifice they have made shows how important the church has become in modern society. We are no longer a peripheral voice, but an essential service to those in our communities. Churches up and down the land have responded fast to the needs of the nation to see our society supported and transformed which is at the very heart of Spring Harvest; equipping the church for action.” 
 
He goes on to say, “Now is the time for us as the church to support our nation’s leaders as we work together to restore, renew and rebuild our communities in the wake of a devasting pandemic. At Spring Harvest we’re stepping up into that need providing resources online to help equip the church to serve their communities.”
 
Spring Harvest Home 2021 begins on Easter Sunday evening with live sung worship from Tim Hughes and Gas Street Music. There will also be teaching from Emmanuel Christian Centre’s Doug Williams and Kintsugi Hope’s Patrick Regan OBE, plus an evening of comedy with Tim Vine and John Archer.

Father, 

We thank you that in the UK Christian festivals and conferences are allowed and that we have the freedom to listen to Christian teaching without fear of persecution. 
We thank you that these party leaders have all acknowledged the difficulties the last year has brought to churches. 
We pray for continued freedom to worship and for any future UK governments to let Christians preach, listen to, speak, act and worship as we are called to. 
Amen. 

Please send any contributions that might be published by next Tuesday morning to:   andy