From the Sanctuary
A year ago, I bought two bird boxes from Peter and Sheila Marshall’s stall at the summer fair. It took me some time to get around to mounting them on my Sanctuary, but I eventually did last Winter. Then we waited with eager anticipation, in the Spring, to see what would happen. At first, disappointingly, no bird was interested in either box; but then two Blue Tits checked out one of the boxes and returned time and time again. I thought that they would be the first residents, but for some reason the box just wasn’t bijou enough for them, and they never settled. That box remained empty throughout the Spring. However, a couple of Great Tits took up residence in the other box, and, in due course, a frenzy of feeding began to happen. Eventually, two beautiful, small birds emerged. There may have been more, but I only saw two leave the nest.
It was interesting watching the parent birds flying to and fro with full beaks, feeding the small incumbents for quite a few days – then, small heads began to appear at the door, and eventually, after much trepidation and uncertainty, they took flight. Through the binoculars, I could see (maybe imagined?) the look of fright on their little faces before each took its first flight – but then, each, in turn, plucked up courage and were soon gone. Now, the box is empty again.
We have just celebrated Pentecost at the end of May, and I wonder how much like those little birds the first disciples were? In the events that led up to Pentecost, they were still in a state of uncertainty, wondering how to move forwards and how to make sense of the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection – and then something happened which filled them with confidence to go forth into the world, and proclaim the gospel. We poetically understand it as ‘they were filled with the Holy Spirit’.
We, like those disciples, have been in a state of recent uncertainty ourselves, and following government guidance, are discerning how to move forwards – both in our own personal lives, and in our Church life. Do we try and find safe ways of doing all that we did before (and there is nothing wrong with what we did before)? Or are there now ways of ‘being’ Church, and of living life, that were necessitated by ‘lockdown’, which we can carry forward with confidence into the ‘new normal’?
Lockdown has forced many of us to think creatively about how we nourish our spiritual life when the usual means of doing so are no longer available to us. How can we use Pentecost, and follow the example of the first disciples, and the example of the little birds, to reaffirm confidence in our faith and community, to set forth – but also take some of the lessons we have recently learned into our future journey with Christ?
I wish you every blessing,
Peter Gubi (Minister)
It is sad that we are not yet able to open our church for regular worship. We are in the hands of government guidelines as well as advice from our Provincial Board but we have discussed ways and means to keep you safe once we are allowed to open. Because of this, therefore, we do not have much news. In usual times, we would be gearing up for our Summer Fayre but obviously this has had to be cancelled.
We thought, however, that you may be interested to hear about this church newsletter and how it began.
In October of this year, it will be 38 years since our then minister, Sr Dorothy Moreton, had the idea of publishing a monthly newsletter and she asked me to assist. We started off with all her words that I painstakingly typed onto a stencil. Those of you who have a background in office work will know how awkward a job this could be. Every time you made a mistake, you had to type pink “stuff” over the error, blow on it until it dried and then overtype with the correct symbol. The mistakes you had corrected were always obvious. Around that time, home and office computers were starting to take off and our next minister (Richard Ingham) used to type out his monthly submission and copy it to a floppy disk (remember those?). He would then call round with it or drop it through my letter box. I could then take it to work and retrieve what he had typed. The minister after that was Colin McIlwaine and he used to email me with his “thought for the month” and I would add the calendar and any other useful information, then photocopy it at work, remembering to take my own paper.
These days, I am happily retired but the monthly newsletter is still my job. And this month, for the very first time, our submission will be published on the World Wide Web, on our very own Church Website. On behalf of the minister and the whole church committee, I hope you find browsing through our website to be an interesting experience. If you would like to contact us, please do so here https://dukinfield.moravianchurch.uk/contact-us/
Sue Selby (Congregation Secretary)