As I write the royal wedding is fresh in people’s minds. A wedding with a great deal more informality than previous royal weddings – and a very different style of sermon. People’s responses to Bishop Curry’s address have been mixed, but there is no doubt that it made an impact.
Naturally, it took the theme of love. What was important from a Christian standpoint was that it pointed us from the human love of a couple, and their friends, to God who is love and the source of all true love. He said,
“Oh there’s power – power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love…And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love, and our lives were meant – and are meant – to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here. Ultimately the source of love is God himself: the source of all of our lives.”
We have just celebrated the season of Easter. First came the solemnity of Good Friday – when we drew close to the greatest mystery of God’s love poured out for a fallen and broken humanity as Jesus died for us on the cross. Easter Day showed the first fruits of the redeeming power of love as Jesus rose from the dead. That love began to ripple out as Jesus re-gathered his disciples, forgave them, restored them in faith, and finally at Pentecost put the very source of love, God the Holy Spirit, into their hearts that they might bear that love to the ends of the earth.
We are Jesus’ disciples today, and he has given us his Spirit, which is the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of love. It is the Spirit who alone can set us ‘on fire’ with true love, and give us the endurance to keep on loving in every circumstance of life. That is both in our own personal lives, in our families, relationship and local church. And also in the wider love that we are called to bear – the love that should make us reach out to others, and indeed to seek to change the world.
So don’t leave the Holy Spirit behind with the Day of Pentecost. Open your heart every day to be filled again with God’s own presence, his goodness, his grace, his strength and his love. And so may the fruit of the Spirit be grown in us, in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. The greatest of which is love.
Yours in God’s love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Did you realise that your giving to church allows us to support other causes?
We encourage every member of our churches to give to God’s work, proportionally to their income. Echoing this, both PCCs have a policy of giving 10% of their general giving (whether on the plate, by envelope or standing order) to support the work of other causes.
All Saints’ PCC has just made its gifts out of the income for 2017 which total £5071. This year we decided that it would be best to support just three charities each year – one working in mission worldwide, one in mission in the UK and one local charity. This time we are supporting Church Mission Society, Gideons and the Lancashire Women’s Centre (Accrington) in each of these charities. If you would like to suggest future beneficiaries in one of these categories, please let Linda Bracewell, our treasurer, know and the PCC will consider it for a coming year.
Special Saturdays in June
On the 9th June, All Saints’ School PTFA are holding a summer fete in the school grounds from 11am-3pm. All are most welcome to come and enjoy the activities, stalls and refreshments (including the tea and cake stall run by our very own Mothers’ Union).
On the morning of 16th June why not get down to the Walton Arms Car Park in Altham and pick up a bargain at the Car Boot Sale? Refreshments available.
On the weekend of 23rd June do pray for some of our young people (from both churches) attending the Diocesan Youth Camp at Hothersall Lodge, near Longridge.
On the 30th June, Clayton-le-Moors is hosting Armed Forces Day for the borough of Hyndburn. There will be a procession from Barnes Square (moving off at 11:30), and a short observance at the War Memorial (but to remember not the dead but serving soldiers).
Special Sundays in July
During July we always celebrate the life of our church primary schools, and in particular our Year 6 children as they prepare to leave, through anniversary services. St James’ will be on 1st July and All Saints’ on 8th July.
On the 1st July at All Saints’ in place of the usual sermon, Dr David Woodcock will give a short talk helping us all to be more aware of dementia and how to act in a way that is supportive of those living with dementia and their carers. DO make a special effort to be there.
On the afternoon of 15th July, we invite you once again to the vicarage garden for tea and cake and ‘songs of praise’.
Finally, on 22nd July everyone is invited to Altham for the patronal festival at 9:30am, followed by ‘brunch’ at Simply Classic. This was much enjoyed last year so look out for booking sheets!
All Saints’ PCC has decided to cease running the fairtrade stall. Turnover has been falling over recent years and the stall is now making a loss. The good news is that fairtrade products are now far more accessible in the supermarkets – so do please keep buying food that is produced at a fair price for the farmers, including the fairtrade premium that allows for development. And for a full range of fairly traded goods, why not visit the ‘One Planet’ co-op on Abbey Street in Accrington? Thank you to Adele Helm for running the stall over the past years. The PCC will consider how best to fulfil our commitment to being a fair trade church in other ways.
I’m delighted that we have 41 adults and 24 children booked in for the weekend at Scargill House in September, as well as a few others who have indicated that they would like to go. End of June is the deadline for signing up and paying so if anyone else would like to come, please shout! We can only allocate you a single room, as the doubles and twins have long since been snapped up. The theme for the input (mostly on the Saturday morning) will be themed around the story of the Emmaus road, when the risen Lord comes alongside two friends, grieving and confused, and gradually unfolds the scriptures to them before making himself known in the breaking of bread. We will also be able to enjoy the wonderful scenery, the yummy meals, the play equipment, art room, etc, etc. Do pray for those who will be going that it will be a joyful and meaningful time for everyone.
Confirmation sessions for those in the current Year 6 will be starting shortly, Thursday evenings at 6pm. If your child is at All Saints’ or Altham St James’ Schools they will get information automatically. If not, please do ask – or look out on the weekly sheets or Facebook. Adult confirmation preparation will begin in September. The confirmation will be held on 8th November.
Thy Kingdom Come
Thank you to everyone who joined in focussed prayer during the period between Ascension and Pentecost. I hope you found the ‘novena’ booklets useful – any feedback would be appreciated to help us decide whether to invest in them again. A big thank you to Jane Lee and Julie Blysniuk for arranging our prayer stations. I was disappointed that very few adults came to church to use them, but the great thing was that all the children from All Saints’ came over to use them, class by class and really enjoyed the experience.