Church News – February 2021

From the Sanctuary

I was noticing the other day, how blessed I was feeling to have my ‘Sanctuary’. It is sometimes called ‘your shed’ or ‘your mancave’ by others, but when it is, I notice that I become defensive. It is definitely my ‘Sanctuary’.

It is the place where I feel inspired and reflective; where I prepare and conduct my services from when on Zoom; where I write this piece, and where I write my academic papers and books. It is where I feel in prayer, and where I feel close to God. These days, it has also become my day-to-day place of work, but that hasn’t detracted from its felt-sense of specialness – or ‘set-aside-ness’.

Yet, it wasn’t a planned build. It was built in response to the death of my mother. It emerged out of a place of grief, which manifested itself in a desire to protect my dad – to hold onto him so that I wouldn’t lose them both. I knew that if he was to come and live with me (because he had had a number of falls and lived some distance away), I would have to move my ‘study’ out of the spare bedroom, so that it could become his room. The natural solution to the situation was to build a space in the garden. What I couldn’t have foreseen, was just how fortunate a space it would be to work from in a pandemic!

We seem to be culturally-imbued with a mind-set that says that building strategy and planning is necessary for advancement. Even in the Church, we are continually invited to consider our strategy for mission and evangelism – and whilst that makes us feel that we are doing something, we forget that, ultimately, it is God who determines.

Joseph could never have known that he would become second person in Egypt, when his brothers sold him into slavery.  Ruth could never have known how inspiring her story would be, particularly to women. Neither of them could have planned or strategized their way into the Old Testament. Instead, they simply followed their faith journey, and God ‘used’ them in His work – and now they are examples to us as their situations ‘speak’ into our own with wisdom and spiritual insight.

We have a Synod coming up in June, when we will be invited to ‘buy into’ the provincial strategy for mission over the next ten years. Whilst that strategy may refresh our vision and focus our thinking, let us never lose sight of where God is already at work in our lives, and in our Church community – even in COVID-19. For God is already among us. Any man-made strategy or directionality needs to be held lightly, for as Proverbs 16: 9 says: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps”.

I wish you every blessing


Those who attend the Zoom Bible Study, enjoying our new prayer time and I have been asked to include a prayer in each of the Newsletters for a while.  This month, you have the first which was written by Sr Glenys Marshall.  I hope you find it helpful.

Lord we pray for all those involved in education, for teachers, support staff, school governors, School Councils and Parent’s Associations. We ask your blessing on toddler groups, playgroups, nurseries, schools, colleges and universities. In whatever way they can work during lockdown, help them to provide as Covid a safe environment as possible. We remember so many staff who are putting their own health and safety on the line, keep them safe both physically and mentally.

In these difficult times help everyone to work together to provide the best education for our children and young people that circumstances allow. We think of teachers and support staff working in school with children of key workers and those working to provide material for home schooling. We ask your blessing on all our children and young people as they cope with a world so different to the norm. Support families as they try to juggle home schooling and disrupted schooling alongside all the problems that face family life as it is today.

Lord we ask these things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

A Retreat has been organised by the Lancashire District on Saturday 13th February from 10 am to 1.30 pm on Zoom.  This is being led by Sr Lorraine Shorten and if you would like to be included, please let Sue Selby know then she can forward the link to you.

What’s on in February

led by Br Peter Gubi
11 a.m.
Monday8thChurch Committee 6 p.m.
Wednesday10thM.W.A. Meeting7 p.m.
Saturday13thLDC RETREAT (see above)10 a.m. –
1.30 p.m.
SUNDAY14thWORSHIP ON THE WEBAvailable on YouTube
led by Br Peter Gubi
11 a.m.
SUNDAY28thWORSHIP ON THE WEBAvailable on YouTube
Unless otherwise stated, all the above will be held using Zoom

A Letter from a Friend

I just had to write to tell you how much I love you and care for you.  Yesterday, I saw you walking and laughing with your friends; I hoped that soon you’d want Me to walk along with you too.  So I painted you a sunset to close your day and whispered a cool breeze to refresh you. I waited—you never called—I just kept on loving you.

As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted so much to touch you.  I spilled moonlight onto your face = trickling down your cheeks as so many tears have.  You didn’t even think of Me; I wanted so much to comfort you.

The next day I exploded a brilliant sunrise into glorious morning for you.  But you woke up late and rushed off to work, and didn’t even notice.  My sky became cloudy and My tears were the rain.

I love you.  Oh, if you’d only listen.  I really love you.  I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky.  The wind whispers My love throughout the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colours of the flowers.  I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls and compose love songs for birds to sing to you.  I warm you with the clothing of My sunshine and perfume the air with nature’s sweet scent.  My love for you is deeper than any ocean and greater that any need in your heart.  If only you’d realise how I care.

My Dad sends His love.  I want you to meet Him—He cares too.  Fathers are just that way.  So please call me soon.  No matter how long it takes.  I’ll wait, because I love you.

Your Friend,