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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.

billsletter-featured

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

 

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Film Club details for February 2014

 

Friday evening, 14th February, 7:30pm 

‘On Golden Pond’ (1982) PG Rating

Henry Fonda, in his last film role, is Norman Thayer, a prickly English     professor of 80, holidaying with his wife Ethel (Katherine Hepburn) at their summer house on Golden Pond, New England.  Out of the blue, their daughter Chelsea (Jane Fonda) turns up with her new fiancée Billy Ray (Doug McKeon) and his 12 year old son.  The generation gap is soon highlighted with Norman and Billy clashing frequently and fiercely. However, as summer progresses, Norman begins to forge a close relationship with the boy that he never achieved with Chelsea and begins to realise how much happiness he missed out on with his own daughter. The film is a masterpiece of storytelling, with beautiful, touching performances: Fonda and Hepburn were rewarded with Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress for their roles.

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

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

 

 

Bills Letter Christmas

Bill’s Letter for December 2013

As we enter into the Christmas season we also move into a time of shorter days and longer dark nights.  It is a time when the symbol of Jesus, the light of the world is particularly powerful.  We experience the darkness of the world in many different ways and this can be highlighted by events in the news which shows the darkness of the way that we sometimes behave towards each other.  For example, we have seen the extreme example of three women being kept as slaves for 30 years.

Also, people are struggling with the ongoing financial situation , as illustrated by the number of people resorting to food banks as a source for food for their families.  There are many more examples too numerous to mention.  We need the light of Christ to help us transform this darkness to light.

As we reflect on the wonderful story of Jesus coming as a baby to be our saviour we know we are not alone.  There is an amazing truth in the fact that the creator of the universe has chosen to be born as a human being and identify completely with the human condition: God with us.  He has come with the vulnerability of a child who went on to allow himself to be cruelly killed, but also, as creator, with the power to call things into being with a word, and also to bring healing and change our hearts from being selfish to being caring.

This makes the way of Christ to be the hope for the world, and gives us his followers a real challenge. Many times in scripture we read God speaking to us, ”Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” As we are aware of the darkness around us, let us in Christ’s strength seek to transform it with his light.

Do come to one of the services or events we are putting on this Christmas time; you would be most welcome to join us.  The details of all the events can be found throughout the magazine.  There are some for all different ages and at different times so that at least one should be convenient.  Coming together at this time will help us to think about not only receiving the gift of Christ’s light afresh for ourselves, but  also being willing to share it with others.

Do come and join us.

Rev Bill Henderson