March 2022

Central Church Newsletter March 2022

Spring is in the air! Oh! what a feeling we all get with the onset of spring. Beautiful daffodils and tulips bring much needed colour after the drab winter months and as the evenings get lighter, we can all look forward to more time in the garden. Trees sprout new buds and leaves and Lambs frolic in the fields as new life emerges and we are left to wonder at God’s creation.

Linda and Malcolm Johnson

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A WELCOMING CHURCH

Dear Friends, 

Every church seeks to be a welcoming church – and I am entirely sure that Central Church is no different. Indeed, we have had the pleasure of welcoming a number of new people in recent months. When we open the church doors on a Sunday morning, we have no idea who might walk through them, but we trust that they will all be met with a warm and generous welcome.

The reason for offering a warm welcome is deeply rooted in the gospel. We have no right at all to expect God to love us and yet we learn that miraculously he has chosen to do so, and especially through sending his Son Jesus to the world. His offer of forgiveness and new life is entirely a gift of his grace, which we could never deserve. Having received his welcome, we are then placed under an obligation to pass it on. Paul writes, “Welcome one another then just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans chapter 15 verse 7, ESV)

On the face of it this all appears simple and straightforward. But if you take the time to read the whole of Romans chapter 15 you will find that it is not at all simple or straightforward! The fact is that the church, like society at large, is made up of very different kinds of people. Some are strong whilst others are weak; some are highly educated whilst others are not; some are wealthy whilst other are poor; some are healthy whilst others are not … and so I could go on. 

Welcoming people who are similar to us is, generally speaking, not too difficult. But when we open the doors of the church we are, by definition, saying that everyone is welcome – whatever their gender, ethnicity, creed, age or background. To offer such a welcome is such an extraordinarily challenging thing to attempt that we dare not try to do so without the inspiration and strength of God’s Holy Spirit. By ourselves we are definitely not up to it.

God has given us truly amazing church buildings right in the heart of our town. I am really excited at the potential we have for making them even more welcoming over the coming months. It is our privilege to welcome Big Breakfast Plus, which is offering a free breakfast to the homeless and food poor. That is a wonderful initiative and it is a joy that we can allow them to use our coffee shop. There are other groups as well that regularly make use of the Pilgrim Centre, but the Church Members’ Meeting has given its enthusiastic support to us exploring other ways of throwing open the doors. Please pray for us as we have conversations with other charities with the hope that Central Church might be even more welcoming to people in the middle of Swindon.

I applaud all the efforts of this church to be a truly welcoming community, and pray that God will give us courage, imagination and determination to share his welcoming love with the people of this amazing and busy town.

With warmest Christian greetings,

Yours ever,

Jonathan's signature

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Diary for March 

Thursday 3rd – Bible Study 2 p.m.

Friday 4th – World Day of Prayer 11 a.m. at Salvation Army Citadel, Devizes Road

Friday 11th  – Lent Lunch at St Aldhelms 12.15 p.m.  (Central Church is responsible for lunch)

Tuesday 15th – Executive 7 p.m.

Thursday 17th – Bible Study 2 p.m.

Wednesday 30th – Church Meeting AGM 7 p.m.

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Preachers

6th – Revd Jonathan Edwards (Holy Communion) 10.30 a.m.

13th – Mr Brian Ellington 10.30 a.m.

20th – Revd Jonathan Edwards (Holy Communion) 10.30 a.m.

27th – Revd John Roe 10.30 a.m.

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News of family and friends 

Congratulations to Jo and Ray Dance who celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on 3rd February.

A letter has been received from Margaret Bathe, who is now living in Chester-le-Street. She says that she attends the Methodist church there each Sunday at 6 p.m. The congregation are still wearing masks, but they nevertheless enjoy refreshments together after the service. The church has a book sale on 5th March which Margaret and her son will visit. At the last sale they had, she was able to pick up a Richard Jefferies book!

Congratulations to Bob and Marion Manning who celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on 22nd February.

Hazel Richards has been in hospital recently and we send her our best wishes for a speedy recovery,

Many of you already know that Jane Narraway was diagnosed with aggressive non-Hodgkin Lymphoma shortly before Christmas. She is receiving chemo. Jane sends her thanks for the flowers, prayers and best wishes.

Daniel Narraway has recently completed his training as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), following in his father’s footsteps! Well done, Daniel.

We are sorry to report that we have heard that Diane Best, who helped at Roundabout and attended Tuesday Fellowship, has recently died. We have no more details.

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Church Annual General Meeting

Our AGM is to be held on Wednesday 30th March. It is important that we have a strong leadership, so we would appreciate your prayers and careful consideration as you think about who could be nominated for office.

A list of current members is available on the notice board outside the Worship Area foyer and nomination papers are now available. Please have the consent of the member you are nominating by getting them to sign the form before returning it in the box which will be available each Sunday until 20th March.

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Help Needed

We are in need of more door stewards and people to help with coffee after Sunday services. If you can help, please speak to Chris.

Lent lunches, set-up at 12 noon, prayers at 12.15, lunch at 12.30.

11th March: Central Church is responsible for lunch. Prayers will be led by Holy Rood.

18th March: Holy Rood is responsible for lunch. Prayers will be led by St Saviour’s and St Luke’s.

25th March: St Saviour’s and St Luke’s are responsible for lunch. Prayers will be led by the Friends and Moravians.

1st April: Friends and Moravians are responsible for lunch. Prayers will be led by St Mark’s.

8th April: St Mark’s is responsible for lunch. Prayers will be led by Central Church.

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Swindon Commercial Chaplaincy (SCC)
Some of you may not know that Central Church is a Church Friend of SCC. You support us financially at a minimum of £100 per year, and promise to pray for us. There is a poster or two on the walls. I am writing to thank you all as we have just received this year’s £100. We do appreciate it. Keeping the finances going has become more difficult since covid. We also have an individual Friend scheme at a minimum of £10 per year. Some of you are already individual Friends, but some from Central who were are no longer with us for one reason or another. If any of you would like to become an individual Friend, please see me and I can tell you more about it, or indeed if you would like to know more about SCC and what we do.

Many thanks

Marion

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God’s Plan for Aging (taken from an email sent to Daphne Hardwick and reproduced here with her permission)

Most seniors never get enough exercise. In His wisdom God decreed that seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things thus doing more walking. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need. In His wisdom He made seniors lose coordination so they would drop things requiring them to bend, reach and stretch. And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors would have additional calls of nature requiring more trips to the bathroom, thus providing more exercise. God looked down and saw that it was good.

So, if you find as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it is in your own best interest and a further example of God’s care.

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Thought for the Day – Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.

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Deadline for April Newsletter Wednesday 30th March 2022.