Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. Hope that you are all continuing to keep well and stay safe. This newsletter is one of our ways of trying to maintain contact and a sense of community during this time when we cannot meet together as a church family. You can find previous issues of the newsletter here. We would love to hear from you and are looking for uplifting and encouraging content to share in future issues of this newsletter. If you have any ideas or content that we can share, please do email them to Louise (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We start with an opening prayer:
God calls you here:
Part of a community of disciples, Part of a church family.
God calls you here and asks you to be ready to be in the presence of the Creator.
Are you ready to worship?
Are you ready to listen?
Are you ready to think?
Are you ready to notice?
For it is God who calls us here – lets be ready to meet our Saviour.
The living God calls you.
Our God that was in every place and space before it was even built;
Our God that dwelt within you before you even noticed:
A God full of grace and forgiveness;
A God bringing challenge and choice;
God who has as much to share with you now as at the dawn of time.
So – are you ready?
Are you ready to notice?
Are you ready to pay attention?
Are you ready to offer thanks and praise?
And today are you ready to encounter the God that waits for you?
For this is the day that the Lord has made. Amen.
Our readings for this week:
Acts 2:1-21 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Peter Addresses the Crowd
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b
- 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13
- John 20: 19-23
We will be hosting a virtual coffee morning via Zoom from 10.30 – 11.30 on Saturday 30 May. This will just be an informal chance to get together online. If you would like to join in, please contact Louise (email@example.com) for details.
Our next virtual coffee morning will be on Saturday 13 June, 10.30am – 11.30am. Details will be sent out in next week’s newsletter.
This week’s service will be a communion service led by Graham Hinton. If you would like to participate, please have bread (or equivalent) and wine (or equivalent) ready.
And please download and/or print the picture of the flame from last week’s newsletter and have it with you also. (Children of all ages are allowed to colour it!)
We are also holding weekly prayer meetings via Zoom on Wednesdays at 7pm. If you would like to join us for this or have any prayer requests that you would like us to include, please contact the Church Office.
Links for worship material from the URC and Methodist Church and youth devotional material from #BBatHome are available on the Worship page on the church website.
Reflections on Pentecost
The book we call the Acts of the Apostles is not written as a consecutive history. Rather it is like a house with many windows into which Luke invites us to peer. Luke seemed to have many sources, some in Jerusalem, some in Caesarea, some in Antioch and distinguishes between “They” and “We” – indicating that he was present at some of the times he describes. His account of Pentecost is a “They”!
Pentecost was the Jewish Festival of the First Fruits and was fifty days after Passover. The disciples were all Jews and it is no surprise that they were together for an important festival. Something happened that they could only describe in hyperbole. A mighty wind, tongues of fire, a language they could all follow. We do not need to read this literally. There is a difference between “it was as if” and “it was”.
The important thing for us is that those present felt empowered and inspired. Luke stresses that they were filled with the Holy Spirit and, if his source was being literal, it was remarkable that Peter, a probably illiterate fisherman with a strong Galilean accent, delivered an eloquent sermon.
We don’t need within the Church to argue over whether a fly on the wall would have felt a mighty wind or seen tongues of fire, or whether the words attributed to Peter are exactly what he said. What is important for us is to remember that worship can be empowering and inspirational and a means of revealing God to those beyond our walls. His Spirit can speak through us too.
That is the challenge for us as at Pentecost
Miracles happen every day, don’t they.
Newborn baby’s first loud cry
As into the world its made its way
A father’s wonder, a mother’s sigh.
Seeds sown, then push through dark brown earth
Small tips reach up, up to the sky
Grow bigger, greener for all they’re worth
How does that happen, we wonder why.
The birds that gather in the tree,
The chicks that hatch from eggs they lay.
Look around us and we can see
Miracles great and small each day.
Taken from this week’s Roots activity sheet
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.
Life in lockdown
Denise continues to receive giant fruit and veg in her food packages. Has anyone else received any unusual items?
Ken Pearce has been broadcasting short local history talks on UxbridgeFM. If you would like to watch these, you can find them on the UxbridgeFM website https://uxbridgefm.co.uk/.
If you have any photos of any other things that you’ve been doing while in lockdown to share, we’d love to see them!
Recipe – Cheese Scones
Last week should have been one of my coffee morning slots and as usual, I would have made cheese scones. As I can’t make them for you for our coffee mornings at the moment, I thought I’d share my recipe so you can make your own:
- 200g / 8oz self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 level teaspoon salt
- 50g / 2oz butter
- 125ml / 1/4 pint milk
- 100g / 4oz mature cheddar, finely grated
- Extra milk for brushing
1) Preheat oven to 230’C (220’C fan oven)/ 450F / Gas mark 8.
2) Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.
3) Rub in butter finely until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
4) Add cheese.
5) Add milk all at once. Mix to soft dough with a knife.
6) Turn on to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
7) Roll out to about 1cm / 1/2 inch thickness and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter.
8) Transfer to lightly oiled or lined baking tray. Brush tops with milk.
9) Bake towards the top of the oven for 7-10 minutes until well-risen and golden brown and cool on wire rack before serving.
You can also try adding some chopped bacon or chopped olives with the cheese in step 4 to make cheese and bacon or cheese and olive scones which are both delicious.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Wealdstone Methodist church
- Wembley Park URC
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our homes with peace.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with love.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our lives with your power.