Central Church Newsletter February 2022
February is normally a dismal time of year. Christmas and new year are behind us and spring is over a month away! However, we must look forward to the year ahead with optimism as we have no idea what lies ahead for any of us. All we can hope for, is that those of us who have managed to stay virus free, will continue to do so and that soon we will be able to live as normal a life as possible!
Linda and Malcolm Johnson
SPRING IS COMING!
The past couple of years have been hard work. We have faced tragedy on a colossal scale and every part of our society has been challenged to the limit by the pandemic. But I would like to encourage you with the thought that spring is coming and we pray that, at the same time, we might see a genuine improvement in the covid situation.
So with spring in mind let me talk about snowdrops. I love snowdrops – and it would seem that I’m not alone! In recent years we have often visited the incredible display of snowdrops at Welford Park near Newbury (famous for being the home of The Great British Bake Off). The park is carpeted with acre upon acre of the flowers and, to my delight, it is an extremely popular attraction. I have always taken great pleasure in seeing thousands of people sauntering around the park for no other purpose than enjoying the flowers.
Snowdrops are a beautiful reminder that the days are lengthening, and that spring will soon be with us. They remind us of the extraordinary resilience of nature. However hard the winter, the snowdrops push up through the soil and put on their beautiful snow-like performance. All of this triggers many reminders of Jesus’ teaching because he often told parables which involved the miracle of growth.
The Parable of the Growing Seed is found only in Mark (Mark 4.26-29). It’s a brief but fascinating parable about the Kingdom of God, and it takes us to the heart of the miracle of growth. Jesus speaks of a man who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether the man is asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows. He doesn’t understand the process. Growth just happens. All by itself the soil produces corn, and then the man comes along and reaps the harvest.
Brief as it is, this parable has much to teach us. Firstly, God wants us to be busy. The harvest relied upon the man both sowing and reaping. Miraculous as growth is, the harvest wouldn’t have happened without the man’s hard work. We shouldn’t be surprised that God has asked us to do work for him in his church. He looks to us to use our gifts and opportunities to build his Kingdom, and we should never be surprised when it is sometimes very hard and apparently unproductive work. Talk to any farmer and you will soon learn what hard work farming is. Work in the life of the church takes many forms – some of it is intensely practical and involves cooking, cleaning and organizing. But much of it involves listening, caring, praying and speaking. The one certain fact is that whether we are in peak physical strength or house-bound, we all have work to do for God.
Secondly, there is the complete mystery of growth. Jesus points out that the farmer has no idea how growth takes place – he just knows that it does! There is so much we don’t understand about the way in which God works in the world – and much of it we will never know in this life. All we need to know is that God is continuously and miraculously at work, bringing new life to men and women who place their trust in him. Daily we need to give thanks for the way in which, whether we can see it or not, God is growing his Kingdom amongst us.
I hope that you will enjoy this year’s snowdrops and that you will be blessed as you reflect upon them.
With my love to you all.
Yours, in Christ,
I have now sent £684 to Christian Aid as our Christmas contribution. The collection on Christmas Day was £235.47 and the rest was in the envelopes. This is a wonderful amount and I would like to thank you all for your generosity. I hope to hear from Christian Aid before too long, telling us how the money was spent.
6th February – Revd Jonathan Edwards (Communion)
13th February – Revd Andrew Francis
20th February – Revd Jonathan Edwards (Communion – Church Anniversary)
27th February – Mr David Easter
Big Breakfast Plus
Big Breakfast Plus opened the doors to feed the homeless on Thursday 20th January. They got off to a slow start with only one person arriving on the first morning. Of course, the Breakfast Club has been closed for 2 years due to covid, and they now have a new address here in the Pilgrim Centre, but as word spreads, they are confident that they will see more guests arriving. Judith, Jonathan and Chris were invited to a trial run on Thursday 13th January. Sadly, Jonathan was delayed and didn’t make it, but Judith and Chris were well fed with bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and toast!
Dates for your Diary
Sunday 6th February – Church Meeting (12 noon)
Thursday 10th February – Prayer & Bible Study (2 p.m.)
Thursday 24th February – Prayer & Bible Study (2 p.m.)
Church AGM – Wednesday 30th March (7 p.m.)
Thought for the day
Life is like a mirror. It will only smile at you if you smile at it.
Church Bulletin Blooper!
Bertha Belch, a Missionary from Gibraltar, will be speaking tonight at United Calvary Church. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Gibraltar!
Deadline for March Newsletter Friday 25th February 2022.