EDITED THIS WEEK BY: REVD GEOFFREY CLARKE
It is 73 years since Ash Wednesday last fell on 14th February. In such circumstances, as those with an enthusiasm for the finer details of observing the church year, Ash Wednesday takes precedence and St. Valentine’s Day should be moved to 15th February. I don’t know what happened in 1945 but in 2018 no one informed the commercial industry for whom Valentine is such a lucrative source of business!
As we begin another Lent I suggest it might be good to reflect on the similarities and contrasts between Valentine’s Day and Lent.
* Both are opportunities to express love and devotion: with a card and gifts for someone for whom we feel romantic love (in the case of Valentine’s Day) or through worship, self-denial, prayer and service.
* There is a danger, in both, that it is limited to one day or season. True love and devotion are shown not just for 24 hours or 40 days but all of the time – when our feelings are conducive and when they are not.
* Both are public occasions – promoted on the calendar – yet their truest significance is the personal and intimate responses of the heart. Valentine’s cards and gifts are not given so that third parties can view them; Ash Wednesday’s gospel reading – Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21 – is clear that our acts of devotion are not to be done where others can see them but are for the God who sees “in secret”.
* Whilst Valentine’s Day is exclusive (in that its focus is the relationship between two people and, as such, there are many for whom the day does not include any expression of love from another, Lent, as a season of devotion leading to the Cross, affirms the inclusive love extended to any and all of us by God.
* The dominant symbols for Valentine’s Day - a ♥ and a ‘X’ (heart and kiss) – can, equally, be applied to the love of God pondered in Lent. Ultimately in the + (Cross) we see and know God’s love for us: God’s ♥ and ‘X’ – made real in his gift to us of himself.
Such devotion to God and love for one another should be our ‘work’ every day and season of the year. It can be helpful, however, to have a particular time to remember and reflect. May this season of Lent enable us – both in our personal lives and as churches – to be reminded of God’s love and to embody that love in our treatment of one another.
- It is with great sadness that we inform you that the Revd David Turner, Retired Minister in Nottinghamshire, passed away on Tuesday 6th February 2018, peacefully in his sleep. David served at: Trinity, Swinton, 1959-62; Brampton, Chesterfield, 1962-67; Chesterfield, 1967-68, Broadheath, 1968-71; Cleckheaton, 1971-76; Cleakheaton, Gomersal & Norristhorpe, 1976-80; Harpenden, 1980-92; Burnley and Read, 1992-98. . Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Avril and family. Funeral details to follow.
- It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of Revd Ian McLeod, Retired Minister living in Nottingham. Ian passed away on Monday 5th February. Ian served at: Marsden, 1975-78; St George’s with Trinity & St James, Sunderland, 1978-91; St Pauls, Harrogate, 1991-2000. There will be a Thanksgiving Service for the life of Ian on Monday 19th February at Bulwell URC, Nottingham at 1.30pm. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Flora and the family.
- It is with sadness that we inform you of the death of the Revd Barry Drake, Retired Minister in Nottingham, on Friday 19th January 2018. Barry was minister in the Nottingham District from 1997 and North Nottingham Group until 2003. He was also minister at Netherfield URC from 2001 – 2009. Barry did a lot of work for the Synod and had the role of Health & Healing Advisor and Interfaith Advisor. Barry’s funeral will take place on Tuesday 20th February with a family committal at Gedling Crematorium at 2:30pm, followed by a Thanksgiving Service at St. John the Baptist Parish Church, Colwick at 3pm followed by refreshments. No flowers but donations to Christian Aid. There’s a request for guests to wear bright clothing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Christine.
ANNUAL FLOWER FESTIVAL AT DUSTON URC - This year our theme is ‘TV and Radio Programmes’. There will be 28 arrangements depicting programmes such as Desert Island Discs, Countryfile, EastEnders, Blue Planet, Coronation Street, Antiques Roadshow and Songs of Praise. There will also be craft stalls and refreshments all day on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Saturday 3rd March from 10am to 4.30pm and Sunday 4th March, Parade Service at 10.30am and festival open from 2pm to 4.30pm. Free entry, disabled access and everyone very welcome.
Please come and join us at Duston URC, Main Road, Duston.
ALVASTON URC – Invite you to attend an Augmented Choir Presentation ‘Olivet to Calvary’ on Sunday 25th March at 5.30pm. Soloists: Kathryn Fitchett, Nicola Rudge, Colin Ashton and Jon Morris. Organist: Geoff Hooley. Musical Director: Margaret Slater. Free Admission. Alvaston URC, Baker Street, Derby.
Arrangements have been made with Andrew Gallie, the lawyer who made a presentation to the URC PLATO group on the General Data Protection Regulations, to run a half-day session on GDPR for Synod Office Staff and others with responsibility for handling Synod data.
15 spaces are available on this and are offered to appropriate people from local churches (maximum 2 people per church) on a ‘first come - first allocated’ basis.
The session will be in the Synod office on Wednesday 7 March 2018, commencing at 10.30 (and due to end for 13.00).
The cost will be £35 for one person (or if 2 from the same church £30 each). Please note that the Synod are currently in the process of arranging a further training session for Churches and details of this will be available soon.
// --> or by telephone 0115 960 9241 to book (Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 3:00pm)
East Midlands Synod have produced a Lent Booklet containing, poems, photographs, reflections and Bible verses which have been compiled with submissions from across the Synod. We offer to you these daily reflections as a companion throughout the journey of Lent, leading up to the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. To download the booklet please visit: http://www.urc5.org.uk/content/lent-booklet-2018
If you would like to keep up to date with news from HOPE, Nottingham please follow this link to download their latest newsletter: http://www.hope-nottingham.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Citywide-feb-2018-A4.pdf
Please note that in 2018 Church House will be organising two Assembly-organised Enquirers events for people interested in a range of ministries in the church:
- Saturday 24 March 2018, 10am – 4pm at Luther King House, Manchester
- Saturday 10 November, 10am-4pm at Westminster College, Cambridge
To download a poster please visit: https://www.urc.org.uk/images/Ministries/Ministries%20Committee/vocations-day-large.pdf
An Antidote to Black and White Religion presented by Dave Tomlinson
Rev'd Dave Tomlinson is the Vicar of St Luke’s, Holloway. He is known beyond St Luke's as a speaker and writer (e.g. The Post-evangelical, How to be a bad Christian and The bad Christian's Manifesto). His current book is “ Black Sheep and Prodigals: An antidote to black and white religion.”
As part of his book tour, Dave is coming to Wellingborough URC for an evening of conversation on 22 March at 7 pm. Come hear Dave’s story and his take on faith that is welcoming and open. Be assured of some laughter and well as thoughtfulness.
An opportunity to meet with other elders to share experiences and ideas within our churches and take part in bible study. All elders are welcome to join us, please note that spaces are limited and will be given on a first come first serve basis.
* Saturday 3rd March 2018 from 10.30am - 2.30pm (bring your own lunch) at Loughborough URC (blue room), LE11 3BH, Led by Revd Dr Deborah Baird
// --> Tel: 0115 9609241
The URC Youth Executive are looking for an Equality and Diversity Representative. The Equality and Diversity Representative is an elected role and will be a member of the Youth Executive, who plays a vital role in Equalities Committee and communicates matters of importance back to the Youth Executive and Youth Assembly. The Equality and Diversity Representative will liaise closely with the Moderator and Moderator Elect in dispensing these duties.
9- 11th March 2018 for 9 to 18 year olds. £25 per person (£10 deposit). With leaders: Dave Dennis and Eleanor Rice. Join us for Fun, Games, Movie Late Nights, Food, Laughter, Quiet and Loud Times, Exploring, Developing, Sharing, Learning, Worship & loads more ….
To book visit: <https://bulwellurc.churchsuite.co.uk/events/h9c3effp>
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- Children and Youth Leaders ‘Meet Up’ – Scunthorpe - Saturday 3rd March 2018 from 10am - 2pm
- Children and Youth Leaders ‘Meet Up’ - Bulwell URC, Notts - Saturday 12th May 2018 from 10am - 2pm
- Children and Youth Leaders Training and ‘Meet Up’ - The Dales URC - Saturday 15th September 2018 from 10am - 3pm
To book for any of these events please contact Hannah Holmes at the Synod Office:
FINANCE ADMINISTRATOR, CHURCH HOUSE, LONDON
Full time, Salary: £30,027
Are you an efficient Finance Administrator who can initiate, process and manage financial transactions within the regulatory framework of the charity sector?
The United Reformed Church is a family of Christians worshiping in 1400 local churches in England, Scotland and Wales. Church House is the central administrative office of our denomination supporting the mission and ministry of all churches. The finance team, based in London, is responsible for the financial management of the United Reformed Church Trust’s resources by maintaining accounting records, preparing annual accounts and managing payroll and pensions.
In this role you will have responsibility for banking, including ensuring the management of the direct debit system, which collects contributions from local churches and maintaining accurate records of receipts and payments. You will also manage the administration of grants made to students training for ministry, accounting for payments made and handling queries that arise.
Applicants will be AAT qualified, numerate and have good IT skills. Excellent interpersonal skills are essential to enable you to liaise and interact with people in a variety of roles across the United Reformed Church. You must be able to meet tight deadlines whilst maintaining attention to detail and accuracy. The ability to manage your own workload through effective prioritising, time management and organisation is essential.
If you are interested in working for us and can meet the above requirements, please contact us/see our website for an application form (noting that we do not accept CVs):
Human Resources, the United Reformed Church, 86 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RT
// --> W: www.urc.org.uk/vacancies
Closing date for applications: 12 noon, Monday 19 March 2018 Interview date: Monday 16 April 2018
- Please note that Spalding URC have a new Secretary: Mrs Anne Mews **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Mrs Jeni Payne, Secretary at Yardley Hastings URC, has a new email address: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Mrs Claire Ette, Secretary at Wellingborough URC, has a new email address:**AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that London Road URC, have a new Treasurer: Ms Sally Cooper: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**
- Please note that Westwood URC have a new Treasurer: Mrs Dawn Meakin-Kauth: **AVAILABLE FROM SYNOD OFFICE**