August has been a busy month with quite a few things going on. From the 6 to the 10 August I was involved in a children’s holiday club at Westbury Gardens URC in Blackburn, my own church. Mal Breeze, the CRCW there, runs this Bible Based activity, supported by church members this time focusing on ‘waste’ and taking care of the environment. The children made things to take home, played games, watched a film and story about creation, sang songs and enjoyed food. There was a good mix of children from the local area around the church, which is a diverse community, all getting on well together and engaging happily with the Christian theme. On average between 25/30 children took part each day supported by adults from the three local URC’s that Mal works with. Parents were encouraged to come on the last day of the Holiday Club to see and hear about what their children had been doing.
The picture above shows the children at the holiday club with some of the things they had made and a ‘Fly Tipping Monster’ an idea from the pupils at 3 local schools. The church is working with schools, Resident Associations, Housing Associations and Council Officers in a campaign against ‘Litter’ aiming to change hearts and minds to care more for our environment. The ‘Monster’ it is hoped will raise awareness of the project. The school children had also written poems and raps about not dropping litter and had drawn pictures of how they would like the area to be as we care and look after God’s creation and these will be displayed on the sides of the ‘Monster’
On 19 August I took part in a special service to mark the retirement of the Revd Lena Talbot. During the service, as General Assembly Moderator, I was able to bring her greetings and thanks on behalf of the whole denomination for all she has done as a minister of Word and Sacrament. This was a very happy occasion with 180 people gathered, we all celebrated communion as part of the worship, then enjoyed a very nice tea with time to meet and greet people.
On 21 to 23 August I was at the URC Holiday Forum at the Hayes Centre Swanwick in Derbyshire. Those at the Holiday Forum had an opportunity to ‘Meet the Moderator’ in an open question and answer session which was wide ranging, interesting to me and I hope to them. I had not previously been to the Holiday Forum but understand it has been going on for 70 years, in one form or another. I was really impressed with the very warm and friendly family atmosphere there which embraced all ages from small babies through to those in their later years all getting on well together. There was a lot to do each day all surrounded by worship and prayer. It was a great experience for me and one which I can recommend as a splendid way of spending a family holiday. There is something for everyone and you can take part as much or as little as you like whilst still feeling part of the whole experience and well worth finding out more about. Next year’s Holiday Forum will be from 17 to 23 August at the Hayes Centre entitled ‘A story waiting to be told’. Why not try it out or recommend it to someone else. I found it Inspirational and I am sure you would too.
On 25 and 26 August my wife and I were at Holymoorside United Reformed Church in Derbyshire for their Flower Festival celebrations. We arrived on Saturday 25 August in time for a meal at Barbara Turner’s house where we met the Revd John Cook and other members of the church. On Sunday 26 August I led worship in the Holymoorside United Reformed church. The church was wonderfully decorated with many flower arrangements based on Musical Show themes, all done by members of the church or organisations that use the church building in one way of another. There were approximately 80 people at the service which included members from St Andrew’s, Calow and Rose Hill URCs, the local C of E church as well as the Chair of the local Council. The church also takes part in the village Well Dressing, a speciality of Derbyshire life. After the Sunday morning service there was very good lunch with time to talk to people. Altogether it was a very enjoyable occasion that celebrated God’s creation and brought people together.
All these occasions show Faith in Action and the many ways that we can and do express and celebrate our Faith with others as we Walk the Way and try to live the life of Jesus today. Next month I will be attending various meetings, preaching at St Andrews and St Georges URC Bolton and attending the Labour Party Conference. I will let you know in my next blog how I get on.