From the Sanctuary
At this time of year, the bird boxes that are attached to my Sanctuary are a ‘hive’ (or nest) of activity as parent birds fly in and out, feeding their young, and my cat looks quizzically on at the bird box in the hope of a chanced, feathered mouthful from a faltering bird. Soon, the young birds will be coming to the edge of the doorway, peeping their little heads out into a bigger, strange world from that which they were born into, and wondering if they are leaving, or staying within, the safety of the nest.
In many respects, there are parallels between the birds and the disciples at Pentecost. The disciples had been huddled and hidden in the safety of their meeting rooms, consoling themselves from the grief of the crucifixion and coming to terms with their strange sightings of a risen Christ. And then at Pentecost, they gain enough courage to take the plunge to go out into the world, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and feeling transformed for the next part of their journey in faith
I, too, feel a bit in that sort of transitional place. Having psyched and readied myself to leave Dukinfield in February, and prepared the congregation for my leaving, we were suddenly catapulted back into the nest (i.e. the familiar) because of unexpected circumstances beyond our control. Now, with reviewed and renewed plans, the Provincial Board has called me to serve Fairfield and Royton, and Dukinfield is to be in interregnum. It is a time of uncertainty, again, for all of us. However, it isn’t a ‘goodbye’ but rather more of an ‘Au Revoir’, for I will still be serving you pastorally and sacramentally until we are joined by another Minister to serve in the Lancashire District (and that is an unknown timeframe). Things will change. I won’t be able to be as involved with Dukinfield congregation, but, instead, I will need to focus on, and prioritise, Fairfield and Royton. It ‘feels’ somewhat messy and uncertain. However, we will all have to adjust to the new circumstances – like young birds finding their wings, and like disciples adjusting to feeling inspired and transformed to undertake new work for Christ.
Without repeating all that I said in my January ‘From the Sanctuary’ (which you can still read on the Church Website), I do feel incredibly blessed to have served at Dukinfield in the role of Minister. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I feel confident in your future and know that you are in the good hands of the Church Committee – and I am not far away if needed. So, have confidence and keep the faith – and know that you are blessed by God, as you have been a real blessing to me.
Wishing you every blessing,
The above “From the Sanctuary” article will be the last by our present minister, Rev Professor Peter M Gubi as his time at Dukinfield will come to a close at the end of June. He won’t be travelling far, as he mentions above, as he will still be serving in our sister churches of Fairfield and Royton. We wish him love for all he has meant to us, individually and as a congregation. His last service, as our minister, will be at the Fairfield Gathering on Sunday, 25th June. This service starts at 10.30 a.m.
Isn’t it good to see the warm sunshine at last? But that just serves to remind me that the Summer Fayre is on the horizon. With that in mind, there will be a Zoom discussion to make the necessary arrangements at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, 13th June. To log in, use the following: 860 6127 8630 with the passcode 852584. We would be grateful for a good attendance at this Zoom meeting. We are looking for new ideas and maybe you are just the person we need to think up something new?
The first meeting of Holy Habits will take place this month—please see the calendar below for this and all the other happenings during the month.
‘What is a Christian? The richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father. If you want to know how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child and having God as his Father.’ (J I Packer, Knowing God)
The month we celebrate fathers on Father’s Day. Unlike Mothering Sunday, this doesn’t have a distinctly Christian origin. However, it does provide an opportunity the celebrate God’s fatherhood and what it means for us.
At His baptism, as Jesus came out of the water: ‘heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:16,17). What can we learn about Jesus’ relationship with His Father, the role of fathers and our relationship with God?
The Father’s presence: When Jesus was baptized, the Father made His presence real by the Holy Spirit. It’s the Spirit who enables us to call God ‘daddy’ (abba, Galatians 4:6). God is with us and knows our joys and sorrows, fears and trials. In this way, dads can relate to their children.
The Father’s love: The Father described His Son as ‘beloved’, who like us, is subject to His unconditional love. Dads should be constant in assuring their children of their love.
The Father’s pleasure: The Father tells Jesus that He is ‘well pleased’ with Him. We also need to hear this, if we feel that we are disappointing God or letting Him down. This can arise with harsh words spoken by our parents. Fathers should use every opportunity to demonstrate their pleasure in their children, especially when things go wrong.
Prayer for June 2023
As we come to this beautiful time of year, the month of June, we thank you for the wonder of your creation and the way our spirits are lifted as we see all around us the freshness of a new summer.
This month we remember Barnabas, whose name means, child of encouragement. He was a good person, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. Lord, help each of us to be a Barnabas to someone today, to encourage and lift up, led by your Holy Spirit and full of faith.
Help us to share your love and goodness, especially with those whose circumstances are difficult. Help us all to trust you through good times and testing times, knowing you are always with us, always encouraging us, always faithful.
In Jesus’ name. Amen
By Daphne Kitching
This is an introduction to Holy Habits. the congregation which I hope as a congregation you will take on board.
Holy Habits is a series of subjects developed by the Methodist Church and our congregation at Hall Green in Birmingham had a lot of input, being a joint Methodist, Moravian and URC congregation. It has been broken down into ten topics – Serving, Prayer, Biblical Teaching, Eating Together, Gladness and Generosity, Worship, Sharing Resources, Making More Disciples, Fellowship and Breaking Bread.
These are to be covered over the next two years and are part of the Province’s Project 32.
It is hoped that each congregation in the Province will study the same topic at the same time during the year – covering five in 2023 and five in 2024. It is entirely up to each congregation as to how they look at them. Suggestions are Bible Study, discussion groups and maybe quizes. The choice is up to each congregation. Also, we want to involve as many people as possible and maybe have separate groups looking at the topic in diverse ways.
We are being asked to study each topic, explore it, and see if we are living them.
Look at the ways we are doing them and other ways we could improve what we are doing. It is not the principal intention to increase membership but if this is a by-product, then that can only be to the good for the future of our Church and Christian life in this country.
From small acorns large oak trees grow.
We have been asked to look at Serving and Prayer as the first two subjects and the first of these meetings will be held on Thursday evening, 8th June at 7.30 p.m.