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Bill’s Letter for April 2014

It is still very strange driving around Stanley without the old church as a landmark and reference.  It is going to be a while before we get used to its absence.  The Easter story reminds us of the possibility for New Life out of death: that painful loss can lead to a future with hope.

Plans are still being formulated for the site of the old church.  We will be looking at what can be done with the stone we are left with and ideas will be on display for peoples comment.

Looking to the future, there is the opportunity and challenge to continue to develop a place of worship in Stanley.  From the outside, architecturally, the church centre is clearly a school and is set back from the street so lacks visibility.  We are looking for ways to transform its identity so that it is clearly a place of Christian worship as well as a place to serve the community in other ways.

This is an opportunity to think about what is important for us, as we meet together to worship and perhaps looking at different ways from those we have used before. The church is not a building, but the people from the community who follow Christ.  We are the church when we gather to worship, and we are also the church when we scatter to our homes and places of work. We have rich symbols to aid our worship, the cross, water, lit candles, bread and wine, the bible and many more.  There is a challenge in using these symbols well to help our understanding of the living God.

The challenge of developing the Centre is for the whole community.  We want to develop a plan that will be inspiring and be one that people want to support. We will need to work with the council over getting long term security for the site. Then of course the resources to make the plans a reality. Please pray with us as we take these next steps in our life together and look forward to a future of new life and hope.

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Film Club details for April 2014

Friday evening, 11th April, 7:30pm 

‘The Miracle Maker’ (2007) U Rating

This animated feature-length film uses a mix of 3D models and 2D animation to tell the story of Christ through the eyes of a child.  Originally a BBC Wales production, it showcases the voices of some of Britain’s finest actors: Ralph Fiennes as Jesus, Miranda Richardson as Mary Magdalene, Richard E. Grant as John the Baptist and David Thewlis as Judas.  In    ancient Israel young Tamar (voiced by Rebecca Callard) meets Jesus, a carpenter, whose ability to perform miracles and teachings on God draw a band of loyal followers around him.  As his popularity grows, he challenges the authority of the established Judaic religious leaders, who begin to plot his downfall. The animation is complemented by a beautifully lyrical score, written by Academy Award winning Anne Dudley.

Free admission, tea & coffee, but bring your own popcorn!

Film shown at the Church Centre, Lake Lock Road, doors open 7pm

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Bill’s Letter for March 2014

For the last few years, the March magazine has been published as we begin Lent.  Once again we have an opportunity to use this month as a preparation for the great festival of Easter, with the powerful theme of death and resurrection.  A theme that we see in life around us.

We have seen the dismantling of the old church, with the main part of the building coming down very quickly.  I would like to say thank you to those who came to the outdoor service on February 9th, despite the appalling weather.  A number of people have asked for copies of the service and these are available at the church centre.  As people shared memories, we heard of a couple who had to get married in the crypt because an air raid was going on.  I later got a letter from someone who was married in 1945, but was only discharged from hospital the night before, and had to report to hospital in Blackpool on his honeymoon.  We would like to keep a record of peoples memories and photos and have some of them exhibited in church.

As the old church is taken down we are breathing new life into the church centre.  We have just been able to lay new flooring, due to the support of local funders, and the effect is a dramatic improvement. As I said in last months letter, we are looking for ways to transform its identity from a school so that it is clearly a place of Christian worship as well as a place to serve the community in other ways.  This is another opportunity for the community to work together and achieve something that we can be proud of and serve future generations.

Death and resurrection is a theme we see in nature, partly through the changing seasons, but also through cultivation.  Cutting back plants is a way of encouraging growth, as is digging out weeds and spreading fertiliser.  In our spiritual life there are many ways of applying these principles.  Cutting back can give us a positive reason for giving things up. Jesus was particularly good at spending time in prayer so he knew what to say no to.  The digging up of weeds can also be a picture of cutting out things in our life that are not helpful.

Let this Lent be a time for growth, as we ask the Holy Spirit to make us restless till we change, and prepare for the glorious celebration of Easter.

 

Rev Bill Henderson

 

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Film Club details for March 2014

Friday evening, 14th March, 7:30pm 

‘Defence of the Realm’ (1985) PG Rating

Gabriel Byrne stars as Nick Mullen, a newspaper reporter for the    London Daily Dispatch who is eager for the big story that will make him a star and make his newspaper famous.  He uncovers what appears to be a simple sleaze story about an MP and despite warnings from his mentor Vernon Bayliss (Denholm Elliott), exposes the story and      becomes a celebrity himself.  Set during the Reagan/Thatcher Cold War period, Nick soon discovers that there is much more to the story than he first imagined and joins forces with Bayliss’ beautiful secretary Nina (Greta Scacchi) to uncover the truth.  Fast-paced, complex, and gripping, this is a conspiracy film on a par with the best.

Free admission, tea & coffee, but bring your own popcorn!

Film shown at the Church Centre, Lake Lock Road, doors open 7pm

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News of the old church

This is a very significant month in the life of the community in Stanley.  It is the month when the old church building will begin to be dismantled.  It will be a great loss to the sky line of the village and many people have fond memories of  special occasions celebrated there. We are inviting people to a service to commemorate the building on 9th February at 3pm.

Full details can be read here.

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Bill’s Letter for February 2014

This is the first letter of 2014, so I would like to begin with wishing you a Happy New Year.

This is a very significant month in the life of the community in Stanley.  As you will see elsewhere, it is the month when the old church building will begin to be dismantled.  It will be a great loss to the sky line of the village and many people have fond memories of  special occasions celebrated there. We are inviting people to a service to commemorate the building on 9th February at 3pm.

We have been very encouraged by the support and help as we are planning a legacy for the site of the old building. We are determined that there will continue to be a sacred space where people can come just to sit quietly or to pray. We are commissioning Groundworks to take the ideas that have come from the community and turn them into a workable plan. This will need to take account of ongoing maintenance as well as making it a safe place to be.

As the plans develop we will have consultation days to enable people to give their responses.  As well as coming up with inspired   designs, we will also need the resources to put them into practice.    Already people have been offering to contribute, either their time and skills, or by offering funds.  The more we can work together to put the plans into place, the more it will be a genuine community project that will be sustainable and we can be proud of.  Let us know if you would like to help.

Looking to the future, there is the opportunity and challenge to continue to develop a place of worship in Stanley.  From the outside, architecturally, the church centre is clearly a school.  We are looking for ways to transform its identity so that it is clearly a place of      Christian worship as well as a place to serve the community in other ways.  We have commissioned an architect, Liz Ashmore, and a liturgical consultant, Revd Richard Giles, to help with this.  We would also welcome ideas from the village, so if you feel inspired, please get in touch.

Rev Bill Henderson