November 2021

Central Church Newsletter November 2021

It’s been unseasonably warm for the time of year and most of us have been taking advantage of the mild weather to still go out and about before the nights draw in. Autumn is a beautiful season and there are many places close to home to enjoy the riot of colour that nature displays at this time of year. Wherever you choose to visit take time to stop and think about the wonder of God’s creation.

Linda and Malcolm Johnson

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THE IMPORTANCE OF REMEMBERING

Dear Friends,

I am very glad that Remembrance Sunday now has a secure and respected place in the national diary. Earlier on in my ministry there was a lot of debate about its relevance for today but the horrible conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the appalling loss of life, have underlined our need to set aside one day every year to remember the sacrifice that others have made on our behalf. Let’s spend a moment reflecting on the importance of Remembrance Sunday.

IT’S A TIME TO GIVE THANKS I assume that amongst the members of Central Church there are people who are pacifists and also those who support the idea of armed conflict if it is justified according to just war principles. This has been a subject of huge tension and division between Christians and continues to be so. However, I would suggest that, whatever our views on this highly emotive subject, we all need to give thanks. We need to be grateful for the huge measure of peace that we enjoy today. How different from my father’s life which was much affected by the Second World War and my grandfathers’ lives who lived through two World Wars. The hideous destruction of war is a continual theme in our world but the past six decades of my life have been ones dominated by peace. We have every reason to give thanks.

IT’S A TIME TO PRAY Wars are destructive in every way and so, inevitably, we live with a painful legacy. This Remembrance Sunday will trigger, for many, the memories of the loss of family members in armed conflict. And there are others whose families have known the pain of living with physical and mental illnesses and disabilities. We need to pray for those in our community who still suffer and to remember those who support them.

IT’S A TIME FOR HUMILITY We live in a broken world and, whether we like it or not, we are part of it and, more uncomfortably, make our contribution to its brokenness. I am quite sure that we are all very serious about our commitment to Christ and our desire to live in his ways, however, honesty forces us to admit that we are still sinners. We fail. We let ourselves down.  We let others down. And, most crucially, we let God down. So when we reflect on the sinfulness of the world we need to do so with the humility that comes from recognizing that we have made our own personal contribution to it. 

IT’S A TIME FOR RECOMMITMENT TO PEACEMAKING Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers”. I don’t object to the word “blessed” because it’s a beautiful word, but the Greek word that is used here is normally translated “happy”. The making of peace literally brings happiness.  Every relationship, every day has the potential for going in a positive or negative direction. We have to decide whether we intend to cause trouble or bring peace. The decision is ours. May this Remembrance Sunday stir up our desire not simply to experience peace, but to be makers of peace.

May God bless you.

Yours ever, in Christ,

Jonathan's signature

Rev. Jonathan Edwards

Transitional Minister

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DIARY

Preachers

7th November – Revd Daphne Hardwick

14th November – Deacon Stephen Roe, Remembrance Service, 9.30 a.m. start

21st November – Revd Jonathan Edwards (Communion)

28th November – Mr Mike Thomas from the Leprosy Mission assisted by Mrs Margaret Williams

Diary Dates

10th November – Executive Meeting 6.30 p.m.

21st November – Church Meeting 12 noon following Church Service

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Help needed 

  1. As was pointed out at a recent church meeting, the notice board at the front of the building is looking rather shabby. It would certainly benefit from sanding and a coat of varnish. Could you, or someone you know, give it a makeover? Offers of help to Chris please.
  2. We are short of door stewards to greet people as they arrive and hand out orders of service and hymn books if required. Please let Chris or Hilary know if you can help.
  3. The ‘Befriender’s Room’ in the cafe needs emptying and sorting before Big Breakfast Plus move into the cafe. If you can help Chris to do this early in November it would be much appreciated. No date has been set for this but it needs to be sooner rather than later. Please speak to Chris.

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Pilgrim Centre

Following the repair to the roof, the scaffolding has now been removed from the building and the logo has been repaired. On 20th October a dehumidifier was placed in the meeting room on the third floor. As soon as the building is completely dry, all internal works will be carried out and we will be able to use all rooms again. You may have noticed that the new graphics on the front door are now in place.

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Remembrance Sunday

In light of the fact that covid cases in Swindon are so high, Judith and Chris, with the agreement of Jonathan, have decided to cancel the refreshments we would normally serve to the mayoral party following the Cenotaph. Chris has spoken with the mayor’s secretary who fully understands. The service at the Cenotaph will still go ahead but will be scaled down from previous years. Please note that our service will start at 9.30 a.m.

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News of the Family

We are sorry to hear of the recent death of Samuel Kumar. Samuel and Sakina travelled to India before the pandemic and were unable to return home so it was there that Samuel died. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sakina, Julian, Alvina and the extended family at this time.

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Christmas Appeals

  1.  The Pastoral Leaders met recently and amongst other things discussed our local Christmas Appeal. In the past we have donated gifts to Harbour, Women’s Refuge, Safer Families, Booth House, and this year we have decided to provide gifts for clients of the Big Breakfast Plus who will be meeting in our cafe from December. Big Breakfast also support people on low incomes. Suggestions for gifts will appear in the weekly service sheet and in the December newsletter. There will be a box in the Worship Area to receive your gifts from the end of November. Please make your donation by Sunday 19th December. Thank you.
  2. This Christmas our “beyond Swindon” appeal will be to support the work of Christian Aid. Details of how we can support them will be in the next newsletter. Here is some information about their current work:

The climate crisis in South Sudan is polluting fragile water sources, killing crops and destroying homes. Combined with years of conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s facing mums to make impossible choices for their children. Dirty water, or none at all? A morsel of food each, or a bigger portion for one? School fees, or materials to rebuild the family home? Through your gifts you could help families in South Sudan and around the world stand strong with more boreholes, farming support and the chance to set up a small business.

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Thought for the day

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

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Deadline for December Newsletter – Thursday 25th November 2021.